nerve impulse


: the progressive physicochemical change in the membrane of a nerve fiber that follows stimulation and serves to transmit a record of sensation from a receptor or an instruction to act to an effector

called also nervous impulse

Examples of nerve impulse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These minerals help regulate muscle function, nerve impulses, and fluid balance within the body. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 31 Aug. 2023 The body has so many redundant circuits of interacting nerve impulses and hormones to control weight that tweaking one simply did not make a difference. Gina Kolata, New York Times, 17 Aug. 2023 Thiamin Thiamin, otherwise known as vitamin B1 has been shown to play a role in the conduction of nerve impulses that are sent from the brain, says Halperin. Cori Ritchey, Men's Health, 31 July 2023 For example, Moody says that vitamin B12, in particular, helps maintain red blood cells and provides some of the coating on our nerves that help conduct nerve impulses. Perri O. Blumberg, Men's Health, 30 June 2023 Vocal cord paralysis occurs when the nerve impulses to the larynx — the area of the throat with the vocal cords — are disrupted, according to the Mayo Clinic. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 14 June 2023 According to Healthline, the alkaloids in poison hemlock can affect nerve impulse transmission to muscles, which eventually can kill the person through respiratory failure. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 11 Apr. 2023 Recordings of electrical activity and x-ray images confirmed that nerve impulses strategically activated specific muscles in free areas. Lars Fischer, Scientific American, 1 July 2022 The neuroscientist Otto Loewi dreamed of an experiment that proved nerve impulses are transmitted chemically. Andrey Vyshedskiy, The Conversation, 23 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nerve impulse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1870, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nerve impulse was in 1870

Dictionary Entries Near nerve impulse

Cite this Entry

“Nerve impulse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

nerve impulse

: the change in electrical charge that moves along the nerve fiber of a neuron in response to a stimulus (as pain) and serves to transmit a record of sensation from a receptor to the spinal cord or brain, relay a signal to another neuron, or carry an instruction to act to a muscle or gland

Medical Definition

nerve impulse

variants also nervous impulse
: an electrical signal that travels along a nerve fiber in response to a stimulus and serves to transmit a record of sensation from a receptor or an instruction to act to an effector : the propagation of an action potential along the length of a neuron

Note: A nerve impulse occurs when a stimulus exceeds a certain threshold resulting in the movement of positively charged sodium ions across the cell membrane of a neuron so that the electrical charges inside and outside the membrane are temporarily reversed.

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