nerve impulse

noun

Definition of 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 The retina converts light images into nerve impulses that are relayed to the brain to produce sight. Harvard Health Letter, chicagotribune.com, "Are you at risk for a secondary cataract?," 7 Nov. 2019 Many venom components disable or kill by blocking the channels for sodium or other ions that are necessary for transmission of nerve impulses. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "New universe of miniproteins is upending cell biology and genetics," 17 Oct. 2019 Glial cells, among other things, build sheaths of a fatty material called myelin, which acts as an insulator to isolate the electrical activity of nerve impulses. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "The genetics of education: 1,271 genes account for 10% of the variation," 25 July 2018 It had been suggested that some aspects of cognition were dependent upon the speed and efficiency of nerve impulses, which in turn depends on this insulation. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "The genetics of education: 1,271 genes account for 10% of the variation," 25 July 2018 The tunneling rate would change with different molecules, triggering nerve impulses that create the perceptions of different smells in the brain. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 2018 That movement of ions is the basis for many of the body’s functions, like nerve impulses, muscle contractions and digestion. Katie Thomas, BostonGlobe.com, "Jens Christian Skou, 99, Nobel recipient in chemistry," 4 June 2018 That movement of ions is the basis for many of the body’s functions, like nerve impulses, muscle contractions and digestion. Katie Thomas, BostonGlobe.com, "Jens Christian Skou, 99, Nobel recipient in chemistry," 4 June 2018 That movement of ions is the basis for many of the body’s functions, like nerve impulses, muscle contractions and digestion. Katie Thomas, BostonGlobe.com, "Jens Christian Skou, 99, Nobel recipient in chemistry," 4 June 2018

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

1870, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of nerve impulse was in 1870

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Cite this Entry

“Nerve impulse.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nerve%20impulse. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for nerve impulse

nerve impulse

noun

Kids Definition of nerve impulse

: an electrical signal carried by nerve cells which relays information from the body's sense organs to the brain and spinal cord or instructions from the brain and spinal cord to a body part (as a muscle or gland)

nerve impulse

noun
variants: also nervous impulse

Medical Definition of nerve 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on nerve impulse

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about nerve impulse

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