nematocyst

noun
nem·a·to·cyst | \ˈne-mə-tə-ˌsist, ni-ˈma-tə-\

Definition of nematocyst 

: one of the stinging organelles of coelenterates used in catching prey

Examples of nematocyst in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The tentacles contain stinging nematocysts that can deliver venom capable of paralyzing and killing small fish and crustaceans and cause extreme pain and welts to humans. Leada Gore, AL.com, "Portuguese Man O' War remain, Purple flags up at Gulf Shores, Orange Beach," 1 Mar. 2018 The blue dragon steals stinging cells, called nematocysts, from man-of-wars, storing them in specialized organs in the tips of their cerata, or wings—which may explain their name. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "7 Real-Life Dragons That Live Up to Their Names," 28 Jan. 2017 Researchers initially thought these nematocysts might be genetically similar to those of cnidarians, animals such as jellyfish and sea anemones. Rachel Brown, National Geographic, "‘Gatling Gun’ Plankton Reveals Violent Microbial World," 5 Apr. 2017 Polykrikos cells have a capsule, called a nematocyst, that contracts to propel a sharp stylet through the water—and through the armor of another microbe. Rachel Brown, National Geographic, "‘Gatling Gun’ Plankton Reveals Violent Microbial World," 5 Apr. 2017 Some have sharp skeletons and tentacles with nematocysts (stinging cells) that immobilize prey. Bonnie Berkowitz, chicagotribune.com, "10 creatures that can ruin your day at the beach," 30 June 2017 A jellyfish’s tentacles do seem to be an odd choice of meal: humans are wary of their sting, which occurs when skin contact triggers small, harpoon-like structures called nematocysts to inject venoms that attack the victim’s cells. Rachel Brown, National Geographic, "Watch: Sea Turtle Snacks on Jellyfish Tentacles," 27 June 2017

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

1875, in the meaning defined above

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nematocyst

noun
nem·a·to·cyst | \ˈnem-ət-ə-ˌsist, ni-ˈmat-ə- \

Medical Definition of nematocyst 

: one of the minute stinging organelles of various coelenterates

called also stinging cell

More from Merriam-Webster on nematocyst

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about nematocyst

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