gray matter


Definition of gray matter

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

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Examples of gray matter in a Sentence

she's got the gray matter to figure that equation out

Recent Examples on the Web

Preserved inside a glass container filled with a solution of formaldehyde, the chunk of gray matter floats effortlessly, as though suspended in time. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "How One Museum Is Giving a Voice to Former Mental Health Patients," 2 July 2019 Returning to Earth helped the gray matter mostly bounce back but seemed to cause shrinkage in white matter, which connects parts of the brain. National Geographic, "What happens to brains in space, and more breakthroughs," 12 June 2019 Paleoanthropologists are rethinking a basic idea about how our gray matter evolved. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... The Year in Science," 1 Jan. 2019 People who eat fish regularly also have more gray matter in the brain centers that control memory and emotion. Orthocincy,, "Benefits of eating fish," 19 June 2018 Experts are still investigating to what extent this decrease in gray matter is involved with schizophrenia’s onset and trajectory. Nina Bahadur, SELF, "9 Facts to Know About Schizophrenia, Which Is Way Too Misunderstood," 15 Sep. 2018 In addition, people with schizophrenia experience brain changes such as reduced gray matter. Nina Bahadur, SELF, "9 Facts to Know About Schizophrenia, Which Is Way Too Misunderstood," 15 Sep. 2018 The occipital lobe is one of the four major lobes of the cerebral cortex, the thick outer layer of gray matter covering our noggins’ hemispheres. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Doctors cut out a large chunk of a boy’s brain—now he’s doing just fine," 1 Aug. 2018 The researchers found that those with NPD had less gray matter in parts of the brain connected with empathy such as the left anterior insula, but there’s no definitive evidence to this link as of yet. Nina Bahadur, SELF, "9 Facts to Know About Narcissistic Personality Disorder Before Calling Someone a Narcissist," 8 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gray matter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gray matter

1809, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for gray matter

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for gray matter

The first known use of gray matter was in 1809

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More Definitions for gray matter

gray matter


English Language Learners Definition of gray matter

: the tissue that makes up the brain

gray matter


Medical Definition of gray matter

: 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on gray matter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gray matter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gray matter Encyclopedia article about gray matter

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