mac·​ro·​phage | \ ˈma-krə-ˌfāj How to pronounce macrophage (audio) \

Definition of macrophage

: 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

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Other Words from macrophage

macrophagic \ ˌma-​krə-​ˈfa-​jik How to pronounce macrophage (audio) \ adjective

Examples of macrophage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Otilimab is a monoclonal antibody against the granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, or GM-CSF, which stimulates the production of white blood cells. Matthew Herper, STAT, "GlaxoSmithKline Covid-19 drug falls short in trial, but may benefit older patients," 27 Feb. 2021 Resolution Therapeutics, a macrophage cell therapy company, raised £26.8 million ($35 million). Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "TikTok finally sends a proposal to the U.S. government—with a twist," 14 Sep. 2020 Meanwhile, specialized white blood cells, called macrophages, gobble up free-floating virus as the body's first line of defense, according to Dr. Raphael Viscidi, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Medicine. USA Today, "How does the coronavirus cause COVID toes or loss of smell? Here's how the immune system reacts.," 18 May 2020 That observation suggested the macrophages were immunosuppressive. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, "Could Newly Found “Peacekeeping” Cells Be a Weapon against COVID-19?," 27 Mar. 2020 Vitamin D boosts the function of macrophages and T-cells, members of the immune system that fight pathogens attempting to enter the body. Jill Langlois, National Geographic, "Worries mount that southern winter may tighten COVID-19’s grip," 17 Apr. 2020 These bind with proteins on a virus’s surface, disabling it and marking it for destruction by cells called macrophages. The Economist, "The coronavirus pandemic An antibody test for the novel coronavirus will soon be available," 1 Apr. 2020 The innate immune system, composed of white blood cells such as macrophages, natural killer cells and neutrophils, was supposed to have no such memory. Jop De Vrieze, Science | AAAS, "Can a century-old TB vaccine steel the immune system against the new coronavirus?," 23 Mar. 2020 When that happens, broken down cells release lipids, which can make their way into macrophages. Andrew Joseph, Scientific American, "Vaping-Related Lung Injuries Resemble Chemical Burns," 3 Oct. 2019

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

1887, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for macrophage

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.

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Time Traveler for macrophage

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The first known use of macrophage was in 1887

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Cite this Entry

“Macrophage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for macrophage


mac·​ro·​phage | \ ˈmak-rə-ˌfāj How to pronounce macrophage (audio) , -ˌfäzh How to pronounce macrophage (audio) \

Medical Definition of macrophage

: 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

Other Words from macrophage

macrophagic \ ˌmak-​rə-​ˈfaj-​ik How to pronounce macrophage (audio) \ adjective

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