gray matter

noun

1
: neural tissue especially of the brain and spinal cord that contains nerve-cell bodies as well as nerve fibers and has a brownish-gray color
2

Examples of gray matter in a Sentence

she's got the gray matter to figure that equation out
Recent Examples on the Web Researchers have seen neuroplastic change during the life span in both the white and gray matter that form brain tissue. Hilary A. Diefenbach, Discover Magazine, 20 Nov. 2023 In adults with mild hearing loss, studies show a decrease in gray matter. Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, 15 Aug. 2023 This three-pound lump of gray matter in our skulls processes our thoughts, memories, feelings, and unconscious physiology. Andrew Mawson, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 Well, leave it to the masters of modern science to explain the living daylights out that day’s supernatural performance, identifying every last detail of the action in my gray matter down to the exact neural networks firing throughout my tempest. Jonathan Rowe, Spin, 19 Sep. 2023 Meanwhile, Neanderthals had larger brains than modern humans, though their gray matter wasn’t necessarily larger in all the same regions as humans. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 25 Aug. 2022 One unlucky victim goes rooting around his own skull for gray matter, which is as close as this movie gets to an indictment of the medical profession. Joshua Rothkopf, Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2023 To keep our heads running smoothly, more than 100 types of neurotransmitters must shuttle messages across multiple regions of white and gray matter. Jocelyn Solis-Moreira, Popular Science, 14 June 2023 This structure gave cells ready access to the gel’s nutrients while mimicking alternating between gray and white matter in the cortex, where gray matter contains neuron cell bodies and white matter contains the long axons connecting them. WIRED, 3 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gray matter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1809, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of gray matter was in 1809

Dictionary Entries Near gray matter

Cite this Entry

“Gray matter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gray%20matter. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

gray matter

noun
1
: nerve tissue especially of the brain and spinal cord that has a brownish gray color
2

Medical Definition

gray matter

noun
: neural tissue especially of the brain and spinal cord that contains cell bodies as well as nerve fibers, has a brownish gray color, and forms most of the cortex and nuclei of the brain, the columns of the spinal cord, and the bodies of ganglia

called also gray substance

More from Merriam-Webster on gray matter

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