killer cell


Definition of killer cell

: a lymphocyte (such as a killer T cell or a natural killer cell) with cytotoxic activity

Examples of killer cell in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The group of immune cells that surge during and after short bouts of exercise, which include neutrophils and natural-killer cells, serve as our frontline defense against invading viruses. Katarina Zimmer, Outside Online, 27 Mar. 2020 The checkpoint inhibitors allow powerful immune cells to recognize and hone in on cancer cells and co-opt killer cells to destroy them. Alice Park, Time, 12 July 2018

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

First Known Use of killer cell

1972, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About killer cell

Time Traveler for killer cell

Time Traveler

The first known use of killer cell was in 1972

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near killer cell

killer boat

killer cell


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for killer cell

Cite this Entry

“Killer cell.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for killer cell

killer cell


Medical Definition of killer cell

: a lymphocyte (as a cytotoxic T cell or a natural killer cell) with cytotoxic activity


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!