macrophage

noun

mac·​ro·​phage ˈma-krə-ˌfāj How to pronounce macrophage (audio)
: a phagocytic tissue cell of the immune system that may be fixed or freely motile, is derived from a monocyte, functions in the destruction of foreign antigens (such as bacteria and viruses), and serves as an antigen-presenting cell compare histiocyte
macrophagic adjective

Examples of macrophage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These complexes establish productive cellular infections in macrophages that result in the release of high concentrations of toxic NS1, a viral protein that damages cells' endothelium and produces dengue shock syndrome. Scientific American, 19 Sep. 2023 The macrophages, and their signals, were somehow promoting tumor development. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New Yorker, 11 Dec. 2023 The fibres might summon macrophages and other immune cells that produce scarring and inflammation in the lungs, and this irritation might awaken preëxisting malignant clones. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New Yorker, 11 Dec. 2023 These compounds stimulate immune cells, including natural killer (NK) cells and macrophages, which play a vital role in identifying and eliminating cancer cells. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 4 Aug. 2023 Instead of breaking down, the ink is passed from macrophage to macrophage, which is why the tattoo becomes fuzzier over time, especially as the skin itself ages and warps. Devika Rao, The Week, 10 May 2023 For example, scientists have found that bilirubin may steer immune cells called macrophages to curtail their secretion of inflammatory molecules. Bymitch Leslie, science.org, 8 June 2023 Smoke can also hamper what's called the macrophage function, the ability of lungs to protect themselves. George Petras, USA TODAY, 8 June 2023 Generally, cells in the lungs called alveolar macrophages will pick up the particulates and clear them out – at reasonable doses. Christopher T. Migliaccio, Fortune, 7 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'macrophage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from German Makrophagen (plural), from makro- macro- + -phagen, plural of -phage -phage

Note: Introduced, along with Mikrophagen "microphages," by Élie metchnikoff in "Ueber den Kampf der Zellen gegen Erysipelkokken," Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie, Band 107 (1887), p. 222.

First Known Use

1887, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of macrophage was in 1887

Dictionary Entries Near macrophage

Cite this Entry

“Macrophage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/macrophage. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

macrophage

noun
mac·​ro·​phage ˈmak-rə-ˌfāj How to pronounce macrophage (audio)
: a large phagocyte of the immune system

Medical Definition

macrophage

noun
mac·​ro·​phage ˈmak-rə-ˌfāj How to pronounce macrophage (audio) -ˌfäzh How to pronounce macrophage (audio)
: a phagocytic tissue cell of the immune system that may be fixed or freely motile, is derived from a monocyte, functions in the destruction of foreign antigens (as bacteria and viruses), and serves as an antigen-presenting cell see histiocyte, mononuclear phagocyte system
macrophagic adjective

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