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 Later imaging on folks who reported sensing paranormal shadows in the past found many had lesions in that exact area of gray matter, affecting its normal functioning. Jake Bittle, Popular Science, "Why do we see ghosts?," 6 Oct. 2020 To do so, your gray matter relies on the power of association. Popular Science, "What Makes Things Stink?," 18 Sep. 2020 All of these regions are made of gray matter, a type of tissue that contains neuron cell bodies and covers the surface of the brain. Grace Huckins, Wired, "A Radical New Model of the Brain Illuminates Its Wiring," 17 Aug. 2020 Underneath lies the white matter, which stretches in bundles of fiber between regions of gray matter and carries messages all over the brain. Grace Huckins, Wired, "A Radical New Model of the Brain Illuminates Its Wiring," 17 Aug. 2020 Tatiana Mitra, an artist based in New York, and her husband, Partha Mitra — a physicist and neuroscientist — studied gray matter from humans, octopi, zebra finches, mice and turtles to create gigapixel photographs and ink drawings. Adriana Balsamo, New York Times, "Perfect the Art of Pickling and Ponder a Night of Poetry," 8 Aug. 2020 The cortex is the gray matter in your brain that controls things like attention, perception, awareness, and consciousness, while the basal ganglia are responsible for motor learning, executive functions, and emotional behaviors. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Why This Guy Sees Spaghetti Squiggles Instead of Numbers," 24 June 2020 The researchers found that children who grew up in families below the federal poverty line had gray matter volumes 8 to 10 percent below normal development. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, "Poverty Disturbs Children's Brain Development and Academic Performance," 22 July 2015 Borgwardt said that studies in animals have suggested that there are changes in the brain's gray matter and, potentially, these effects of tea could be used to target psychiatric diseases such as depression and dementia. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Why drinking tea might just help in a crisis," 21 May 2020

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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The first known use of gray matter was in 1809

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Last Updated

11 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gray matter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on gray matter

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

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