li·​gand | \ ˈli-gənd How to pronounce ligand (audio) , ˈlī- How to pronounce ligand (audio) \

Definition of ligand

: a group, ion, or molecule coordinated to a central atom or molecule in a complex

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Examples of ligand in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Geoff Burnstock (University College London) discovered purinergic signaling in 1972, and has been characterizing the nucleotide and nucleoside ligands, their receptors and their biology ever since. Bradley J. Fikes,, "Autism study questions and answers," 26 May 2017 Last year one of Schelter's postdocs synthesized a three-armed molecule, called a tripodal ligand. Nelson Ching, National Geographic, "How Acid—and Bacteria—Could Make Recycling Your Phone Greener," 10 June 2016 That process is sometimes referred to as in vitro selection or SELEX — systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment. Aaron Rowe, WIRED, "Fight Your Migraines With a Drug Made From Left-Handed Sugars," 12 June 2008

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

1949, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ligand

Latin ligandus, gerundive of ligare

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Dictionary Entries near ligand


ligament of Winslow






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Time Traveler for ligand

The first known use of ligand was in 1949

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More Definitions for ligand


li·​gand | \ ˈlig-ənd How to pronounce ligand (audio) , ˈlīg- How to pronounce ligand (audio) \

Medical Definition of ligand

: a group, ion, or molecule coordinated to a central atom or molecule in a complex

Other Words from ligand

liganded \ -​əd How to pronounce liganded (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on ligand

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ligand Encyclopedia article about ligand

Comments on ligand

What made you want to look up ligand? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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