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

These types of bumps or spots form when melanocytes, the skin cells that create melanin, clump together or grow in clusters rather than being spread out. Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "12 Common Face 'Bumps' and How to Deal With Them," 31 May 2019 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 Alternatives include azelaic acid and kojic acid, which both also hinder how your melanocytes work. Korin Miller, SELF, "What You Should Know About Melasma, Those Random Dark Spots on Your Face," 27 Aug. 2018 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 The worst-case scenario occurs when a skin cell, like a melanocyte, mutates and becomes cancerous—but UV rays also cause free-radical damage in the skin, which can lead to premature aging, sun spots, and immune-system damage. Brennan Kilbane, GQ, "This Magical New Pill Reduces Long-Term Sun Damage," 7 June 2018 Melanoma, which starts in those pigment-providing melanocytes, can be much more lethal. Rochaun Meadows-fernandez, SELF, "Why Are Black People Less Likely to Get Melanoma But More Likely to Die From It?," 2 Feb. 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

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

13 Jul 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).


a period when something is suspended

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