in silico

adverb or adjective
in sil·​i·​co | \ in-ˈsi-li-ˌkō How to pronounce in silico (audio) \

Definition of in silico

: in or on a computer : done or produced by using computer software or simulation in silico predictions dissect a frog in silico

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Did You Know?

In silico literally means "in silicon" in New Latin, and is a nod to the importance of silicon in the creation of computer chips. (The same nod is given in the name "Silicon Valley.") In silico, which dates only to the early 1990s, is modeled on and often contrasted with two similarly-structured terms, both of which date to the pre-computer days right around the start of the 20th century. In vitro means "outside the living body and in an artificial environment." (In New Latin in vitro means "in glass.") In vivo translates as "in the living" in New Latin, and is used in English to mean "in the living body of a plant or animal."

Examples of in silico in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Beyond speeding results and mitigating the risks of clinical trials, in silico medicine can be used in place of risky interventions that are required for diagnosing or planning treatment of certain medical conditions. Daniel E. Hurtado, Scientific American, "Virtual Patients Could Revolutionize Medicine," 10 Nov. 2020 The philosophy behind in silico medicine is not new. Daniel E. Hurtado, Scientific American, "Virtual Patients Could Revolutionize Medicine," 10 Nov. 2020 Silver and colleagues might phrase this explicitly by highlighting the in silico nature of the forecasts: His predictions aren’t for the world as is, but are based on data that might reflect voter behavior. C. Brandon Ogbunu, Wired, "Yes, Accept the Flaws of Election and Epidemic Models," 10 Nov. 2020 His lab combines a machine learning platform that generates new molecules in silico with a synthesizer that prints out these new molecules for a pipetting robot, which then performs experiments on them. Quanta Magazine, "Machine Learning Takes On Antibiotic Resistance," 9 Mar. 2020 For all its apparent power, in silico work will not replace in vitro testing — and certainly not clinical trials. Quanta Magazine, "Machine Learning Takes On Antibiotic Resistance," 9 Mar. 2020 Levy’s book about the science and nuance of life creation in silico. New York Times, "Considering Steven Levy and Artificial Life," 13 Mar. 2020 How to best use that space is something Airbus is also exploring, although that's being done full size and in silico rather than with action figures and a scale model. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Airbus shows off MAVERIC, an unusual aircraft to test blended wing bodies," 11 Feb. 2020 But that hasn't stopped our friends at CXC Simulations from having a go at reverse-engineering things in silico. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "This simulator company reverse-engineered the Tesla Nürburgring lap," 13 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'in silico.' 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 in silico

1992, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for in silico

New Latin, literally, in silicon

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Time Traveler for in silico

Time Traveler

The first known use of in silico was in 1992

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Last Updated

16 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“In silico.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/in%20silico. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for in silico

in silico

adjective or adverb
in sil·​i·​co | \ in-ˈsi-li-ˌkō How to pronounce in silico (audio) \

Medical Definition of in silico

: in or on a computer : done or produced by using computer software or simulation A structure as complex as the human brain … can't simply be replicated in silico; you can't draw up a blueprint for the myriad interconnections of our billions of neurons.— Steven Johnson, The Nation, 3 Sept. 2001

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