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 Wylie was fascinated by the concept of reconstructing a society in silico—capturing people’s data trails and their behavior to remake the actual world. Wired, "Cambridge Analytica, Whistle-Blowers, and Tech's Dark Appeal," 15 Oct. 2019 Millions of p-JAMs are burned every time a single supercomputer simulates, say, a drug molecule’s interaction with biological cells in silico, rather than in humans. Mark P. Mills, National Review, "Will ‘Video-Shaming’ Follow Our Summer of ‘Flight-Shaming’?," 20 Sep. 2019 Rather than putting that on the page, Codemasters used it to describe each car in silico. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "F1 2018: More than a great game, it’s an interactive history lesson," 17 Aug. 2018 Each one orchestrates a biochemical ballet, transforming a string of in silico instructions into the company’s first product: a custom Crispr kit. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "Biology Will Be the Next Great Computing Platform," 3 May 2018 Finkbeiner and his team call their machine-learning approach in silico labeling, or ISL for short. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "AI Learns a New Trick: Measuring Brain Cells," 12 Apr. 2018 But not everyone is confident about the applications of in silico testing. Arvind Dilawar, Newsweek, "Using Artificial Intelligence to Find Cancer Cures," 12 Oct. 2017

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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Statistics for in silico

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for in silico

The first known use of in silico was in 1992

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More Definitions for in silico

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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