my·​ce·​li·​um | \ mī-ˈsē-lē-əm \
plural mycelia\ -​lē-​ə \

Definition of mycelium

: the mass of interwoven filamentous hyphae that forms especially the vegetative portion of the thallus of a fungus and is often submerged in another body (as of soil or organic matter or the tissues of a host) also : a similar mass of filaments formed by some bacteria (such as streptomyces)

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Other Words from mycelium

mycelial \ -​əl \ adjective

Examples of mycelium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

These hyphae threads are connected through a web called a mycelium. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "An Alliance of Plants and Fungus Could Be the Key to Farming in Space," 19 Oct. 2018 Meanwhile, Modern Meadow, Vegea, and MycoWorks are creating leatherlike materials out of yeast, grape extracts, and mushroom mycelium. Lindsay Talbot, Marie Claire, "Your Everything Guide to a Sustainable Closet," 19 July 2018 Adding fresh spawn annually will ensure that the mycelium stays vigorous. Sunset, "How to Grow Mushrooms," 22 Jan. 2018 Mention of mushrooms conjure all sorts of images, but for Dutch textile designer Aniela Hoitink mushroom mycelium can be a course for fashion. Rosemary Feitelberg | Wwd,, "Mushroom-made fashion authority Aniela Hoitink talks global change-sparked innovation," 29 May 2018 Eight strangers, connected like a mushroom’s mycelium, could access each other’s emotions and psyches. Rebecca Farley,, "Sense8 Series Finale Recap: Farewell, International Orgies!," 8 June 2018 Fungi into mycelium into hyphae into mycorrhizal networks into positive-feedback loops into this tree still standing despite the terrible damage. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, "Fungus," 4 June 2017 Stirring in more wood chips will keep the mycelium growing for future harvests. Sunset, "How to Grow Mushrooms," 22 Jan. 2018 In September, Ninela Ivanova, a British designer, and Sebastian Cox, a British furniture maker, exhibited hanging lamps and stools made of willow wood and mushrooms (or more technically, mycelium, the root network of fungi). New York Times, "Trends in Design and Home Furnishings," 8 May 2018

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

1836, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mycelium

borrowed from New Latin, from myc- (from base of Greek mykēt-, mýkēs "mushroom, fungus") + -el- (of unknown origin) + -ium -ium — more at myco-

Note: Term introduced by the Austrian botanist and mycologist Leopold Trattinnick (1764-1849) in Fungi Austriaci, ad specimina viva cera expressi descriptiones ac historiam naturalem completam addidit Leopoldus Trattinnick/Oesterreichs Schwämme, nach lebendigen Originalen in Wachs gearbeitet mit Beschreibungen und einer ausführlichen Naturgeschichte, 1. Lieferung (Vienna, 1804). Trattinnick, who uses the word throughout the work, gives no indication of its derivation. His translation in the parallel vernacular columns is Schwammgewächs, literally, "mushroom growth." The reading of -el- as Greek hêlos "nail head, wart, callus," apparently first proposed in the Century Dictionary and copied by many dictionaries since, is improbable and in any case purely speculative. Somewhat more probable is the suggestion in the Oxford English Dictionary that the interposed -l- is after epithelium.

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The first known use of mycelium was in 1836

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my·​ce·​li·​um | \ mī-ˈsē-lē-əm \
plural -lia\ -​lē-​ə \

Medical Definition of mycelium

: the mass of interwoven filamentous hyphae that forms especially the vegetative body of a fungus and is often submerged in another body (as of soil or organic matter or the tissues of a host) also : a similar mass of filaments formed by some bacteria (as of the genus Streptomyces)

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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