neu·​ri·​lem·​ma | \ ˌnu̇r-ə-ˈle-mə How to pronounce neurilemma (audio) , ˌnyu̇r- \

Definition of neurilemma

: the plasma membrane surrounding a Schwann cell of a myelinated nerve fiber and separating layers of myelin

Other Words from neurilemma

neurilemmal \ ˌnu̇r-​ə-​ˈle-​məl How to pronounce neurilemma (audio) , ˌnyu̇r-​ \ adjective

First Known Use of neurilemma

1852, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for neurilemma

alteration (after Greek lémma "peel, rind, husk" as in sarcolemma and other terms) of New Latin neurīlēma, from Greek neur- neur- + eílēma "veil, covering, wrapper," from eilē-, variant stem of eileîn "to wind, turn round, rollup" + -ma, resultative noun suffix — more at welter entry 1

Note: The Latin term neurilema was introduced by the German physician and anatomist Johann Christian Reil (1759-1813) in Exercitationum anatomicarum fasciculus primus, De structura nervorum (Halle, 1796), p. 1. Reil states that he prefers the Greek-derived word neurilema because the Latin expression tunica nervosa or nervea seems to afford an indirect sense—"covering made of nerve matter"—whereas his intended sense is presumably "covering of the nerve." The term was taken up as névrilème by the French anatomist Xavier Bichat in Anatomie générale, appliqué à la physiologie et à la médecine, première partie, tome premier (Paris, 1801), p. 137 passim.

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The first known use of neurilemma was in 1852

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Last Updated

4 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Neurilemma.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for neurilemma


neu·​ri·​lem·​ma | \ ˌn(y)u̇r-ə-ˈlem-ə How to pronounce neurilemma (audio) \
variants: also neurolemma

Medical Definition of neurilemma

: the outer layer surrounding a Schwann cell of a myelinated axon

called also nerve sheath, Schwann's sheath, sheath of Schwann

Other Words from neurilemma

neurilemmal \ -​ˈlem-​əl How to pronounce neurilemma (audio) \ adjective


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