me·​la·​no·​cyte | \ mə-ˈla-nə-ˌsīt How to pronounce melanocyte (audio) , ˈme-lə-nō-\

Definition of melanocyte

: an epidermal cell that produces melanin

Examples of melanocyte in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The spot stars Amy Deanna, a black model with Vitiligo, a condition that causes skin to lose pigment cells (AKA melanocytes). Karina Hoshikawa, Teen Vogue, "CoverGirl's Latest Campaign Film Features a Model with Vitiligo," 21 Feb. 2018 General vitiligo is believed to be an autoimmune condition, which means the immune system mistakenly attacks pigment-producing cells (melanocytes). Serena Gordon,, "New treatment could be 'breakthrough' for vitiligo," 8 Feb. 2018 High temps — anything above 90 degrees — spur inflammation and free radicals (oxygen molecules that mess with normal cell function), kicking pigment-making melanocyte cells into overdrive. Krista Bennett Demaio, Cosmopolitan, "9 Beauty Fails That Mess With Your Skin (and How to Fix Them)," 2 Jan. 2015 The production of melanin occurs within melanocytes, specialized cells that are present but not fully functional in albino mammals. National Geographic, "What is albinism?," 6 Mar. 2019 Over time, these melanocytes progressively produce less pigment. Amanda Etkind, Allure, "My Hair Started Going Gray When I Was Just 20 — and I'm Totally Embracing It," 6 Sep. 2018 When these melanocytes go into overdrive and produce too much color, the dark spots can occur. Susan Brickell,, "This Blogger Applies Sunscreen Like a Mustache to Prevent Melasma—Does That Really Work?," 9 Apr. 2018 Melanoma is a cancer that originates in melanocytes, the cells that produce the skin-color pigment melanin. Scientific American, "How Cancer Can Become Therapy-Resistant," 7 Apr. 2018 According to the Mayo Clinic, vitiligo occurs when pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) die or stop producing melanin — the pigment that gives your skin, hair and eyes color. Melanie Dadourian, Fox News, "A woman with a blotchy skin disease finds the courage to go makeup-free after 30 years of 'wearing a mask'," 27 Mar. 2018

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

circa 1890, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for melanocyte

melano- + -cyte

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Statistics for melanocyte

Last Updated

24 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for melanocyte

The first known use of melanocyte was circa 1890

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More Definitions for melanocyte


me·​la·​no·​cyte | \ mə-ˈlan-ə-ˌsīt How to pronounce melanocyte (audio) , ˈmel-ə-nō- How to pronounce melanocyte (audio) \

Medical Definition of melanocyte

: an epidermal cell that produces melanin — compare melanoblast

More from Merriam-Webster on melanocyte Encyclopedia article about melanocyte

Comments on melanocyte

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


to spread over or through

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