neuron

noun
neu·​ron | \ ˈnü-ˌrän, ˈnyü-; ˈnu̇r-ˌän, ˈnyu̇r- \

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 , ˈnyu̇r-​ ; nu̇-​ˈrō-​nᵊl, nyu̇-​ \ or less commonly neuronic \ nu̇-​ˈrä-​nik , nyu̇-​ \ adjective

Examples of neuron in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The molecules stick to a layer of mucus on the upper surface of the cavity, embedded with olfactory neurons. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 2018 Researchers experimented on Aplysia californica sea snails, small organisms with large neurons that are relatively easy to work with. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Just Transferred Memories From One Creature to Another," 19 May 2018 Then again, the explanation could be more simple: Chemotherapies designed to kill certain cells are breaching the blood-brain barrier and attacking neurons directly. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "What causes ‘chemobrain’? It’s time for neuroscientists to get serious about finding out, experts say," 13 June 2018 Loosely modeled on the web of neurons in the human brain, a neural network is a complex mathematical system that can learn tasks on its own. Cade Metz, The Seattle Times, "The next Big One? Earthquake scientists look to AI.," 26 Oct. 2018 As the world would come to know, Hawking suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that ravages the neurons controlling voluntary muscle movement, but leaves cognitive functioning intact. Brian Greene, Time, "How Stephen Hawking Helped Redefine the Rules of Reality," 15 Mar. 2018 Recent images of slices of a mouse brain require a supercomputer to assemble them into a 3D model of individual neurons and synapses. Ernie Mastroianni, Discover Magazine, "Meet the Man Who Takes Pictures of Microbes," 18 Oct. 2018 Anything that disrupts the nerve cells (neurons) in your brain can cause seizures, Dr. Kaufman says. Korin Miller, SELF, "‘The Good Place’ Star Jameela Jamil Says She Developed Seizures After Trying to Eat a Cookie Off the Floor," 2 Oct. 2018 Migraines, this theory holds, start when the spreading electrical wave activates the trigeminal ganglion, a cluster of neurons that sit close to the brainstem. Tony Dajer, Discover Magazine, "Vertigo, Panic and Trouble Breathing: What's Going On Here?," 19 Oct. 2018

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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Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for neuron

The first known use of neuron was in 1891

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More Definitions for neuron

neuron

noun

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, ˈnyü-\

Kids Definition of neuron

neuron

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

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 , n(y)u̇-​ˈrōn-​ᵊl \ also neuronic \ n(y)u̇-​ˈrän-​ik \ 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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