neuron

noun
neu·​ron | \ ˈnü-ˌrän How to pronounce neuron (audio) , ˈnyü-; ˈnu̇r-ˌän, ˈnyu̇r- How to pronounce neuron (audio) \

Definition of neuron

: a grayish or reddish granular cell that is the fundamental functional unit of nervous tissue transmitting and receiving nerve impulses and having cytoplasmic processes which are highly differentiated frequently as multiple dendrites or usually as solitary axons which conduct impulses to and away from the cell body : nerve cell sense 1

Illustration of neuron

Illustration of neuron

neuron: 1 cell body, 2 dendrite, 3 axon, 4 nerve ending

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Other Words from neuron

neuronal \ ˈnu̇r-​ə-​nᵊl How to pronounce neuronal (audio) , ˈnyu̇r-​ ; nu̇-​ˈrō-​nᵊl , nyu̇-​ How to pronounce neuronal (audio) \ or less commonly neuronic \ nu̇-​ˈrä-​nik How to pronounce neuronic (audio) , nyu̇-​ \ adjective

Examples of neuron in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Each needle is studded with almost 1,000 sites that can record neural activity, the electrical spikes of neurons talking to each other. Wired, "A Trove of Mouse Data Points Toward Brain-Computer Interfaces," 15 Oct. 2019 Just because some individual neurons retain some potential for excitability does not imply that millions and millions of neurons can spontaneously self-organize and break out into an electrical chorus. Christof Koch, Scientific American, "Is Death Reversible?," 11 Oct. 2019 He was drawn to a thin layer of inhibitory neurons called the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN), which wraps around the rest of the thalamus like a shell. Quanta Magazine, "To Pay Attention, the Brain Uses Filters, Not a Spotlight," 24 Sep. 2019 Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus have devised an efficient, if painstaking, way to untangle a riot of more than 1,000 long neurons inside a mouse’s head. Scientific American, "Test Pilot Geese, Planetary Wrecking Balls and Super AI Vision: The Week’s Best Science GIFs," 6 Sep. 2019 Another branch involves mimicking the behavior of traditional neurons: many small units communicating in bursts of activity called spikes, and keeping track of the history of past activity. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "One chip to rule them all: It natively runs all types of AI software," 31 July 2019 Understanding how the huge networks of neurons that comprise our thinking organs process information about the world is a daunting mystery for neuroscientists. Quanta Magazine, "Do Brains Operate at a Tipping Point? New Clues and Complications," 10 June 2019 Stress and depression have been shown to dampen neurogenesis — the growth of new neurons — in the hippocampal circuit. M.r. O'connor |, Twin Cities, "M.R. O’Connor: Here’s what gets lost when we rely on GPS," 7 June 2019 Brain areas that are especially sensitive to oxygen loss, such as the hippocampus, also preserved well under BrainEx, as did the structures of individual neurons. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Pig brains partially revived hours after death—what it means for people," 17 Apr. 2019

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

1891, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for neuron

borrowed from German Neuron, borrowed from Greek neûron "sinew, tendon, nerve" — more at nerve entry 1

Note: Term introduced by the German anatomist Heinrich Wilhelm Waldeyer (Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried von Waldeyer-Hartz, 1836-1921) in "Ueber einige neuere Forschungen im Gebiete der Anatomie der Centralnervensystems," Berliner klinische Wochenschrift, 28. Jahrgang, no. 28, July 13, 1891, p. 691: "Somit besteht ein Nervenelement (eine 'Nerveneinheit' oder 'Neuron', wie ich es zu nennen vorschlagen möchte), den genannten Forschungsergebnissen … zufolge, aus nachstehenden Stücken: a) einer Nervenzelle, b) dem Nervenfortsatze, c) dessen Collateralen und d) dem Endbäumchen." - "Therefore, in accordance with the cited research results, a nerve element (a 'nerve unit' or 'neuron,' as I would like to suggest as a name), consists of the following parts: a) a nerve cell, b) the nerve process [= axon], c) its collaterals and d) the end tree [= axon terminals]." Waldeyer apparently intended -on to be taken as a suffix, indicating a unit, rather than the Greek neuter singular inflectional ending, as he utilized Neuronen as the plural in the same article. Cf. French neurone and the English variant neurone.

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Statistics for neuron

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for neuron

The first known use of neuron was in 1891

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More Definitions for neuron

neuron

noun
How to pronounce neuron (audio) How to pronounce neuron (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of neuron

medical : a cell that carries messages between the brain and other parts of the body and that is the basic unit of the nervous system

neuron

noun
neu·​ron | \ ˈnü-ˌrän How to pronounce neuron (audio) , ˈnyü-\

Kids Definition of neuron

neuron

noun
neu·​ron | \ ˈn(y)ü-ˌrän How to pronounce neuron (audio) , ˈn(y)u̇(ə)r-ˌän How to pronounce neuron (audio) \
variants: also neurone \ -​ˌrōn, -​ˌōn How to pronounce neurone (audio) \

Medical Definition of neuron

: one of the cells that constitute nervous tissue, that have the property of transmitting and receiving nerve impulses, and that are composed of somewhat reddish or grayish protoplasm with a large nucleus containing a conspicuous nucleolus, irregular cytoplasmic granules, and cytoplasmic processes which are highly differentiated frequently as multiple dendrites or usually as solitary axons and which conduct impulses toward and away from the cell body : nerve cell sense 1

Other Words from neuron

neuronal \ ˈn(y)u̇r-​ən-​ᵊl How to pronounce neuronal (audio) , n(y)u̇-​ˈrōn-​ᵊl How to pronounce neuronal (audio) \ also neuronic \ n(y)u̇-​ˈrän-​ik How to pronounce neuronic (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on neuron

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with neuron

Nglish: Translation of neuron for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neuron for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about neuron

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