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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from neuron

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

Examples of neuron in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The strength of connection of each neuron to its neighbor is a parameter of the network called weight. Kate Saenko, Quartz, "Why have AI models become so power hungry?," 24 Dec. 2020 The strength of connection of each neuron to its neighbor is a parameter of the network called weight. Kate Saenko, Quartz, "Why have AI models become so power hungry?," 24 Dec. 2020 The animal was affected by a particular part of a neuron that doesn’t exist in humans. Quanta Magazine, "Catherine Dulac Finds Brain Circuitry Behind Sex-Specific Behaviors," 14 Dec. 2020 The technique is much faster than fMRI, so Conway could capture patterns of neuron firing before, during, and after his subjects looked at different colors. Sara Harrison, Wired, "A New Study About Color Tries to Decode ‘The Brain’s Pantone’," 24 Nov. 2020 The strength of connection of each neuron to its neighbor is a parameter of the network called weight. Kate Saenko, The Conversation, "It takes a lot of energy for machines to learn – here’s why AI is so power-hungry," 14 Dec. 2020 No neuron, apparently, has a single job, and different groups of neurons can produce the same result. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "‘Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain’ Review: Gray Matter, a User’s Manual," 13 Dec. 2020 With a sharper protocol and new information, the researchers were able to confirm and expand on the existing body of ENS neuron knowledge. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Hey, There's a Second Brain in Your Gut," 11 Dec. 2020 The researchers used a version of AlexNet to model the ventral visual stream of macaques and figured out the correspondences between the artificial neuron units and neural sites in the monkeys’ V4 area. Quanta Magazine, "Deep Neural Networks Help to Explain Living Brains," 28 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about neuron

Time Traveler for neuron

Time Traveler

The first known use of neuron was in 1891

See more words from the same year

Statistics for neuron

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Neuron.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neuron. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on neuron

Nglish: Translation of neuron for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neuron for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about neuron

Comments on neuron

What made you want to look up neuron? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!