neuron

noun neu·ron \ ˈnü-ˌrän , ˈnyü- ; ˈnu̇r-ˌän , ˈnyu̇r- \
|Updated on: 10 Aug 2018

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 1

neuronal

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

Recent Examples of neuron from the Web

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.

Illustration of neuron

illustration of neuron

Origin and Etymology of neuron

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


NEURON Defined for English Language Learners

neuron

Definition of neuron for English Language Learners

  • 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 Defined for Kids

neuron

noun neu·ron \ ˈnü-ˌrän , ˈnyü- \

Definition of neuron for Students


Medical Dictionary

neuron

noun neu·ron \ ˈn(y)ü-ˌrän , ˈn(y)u̇(ə)r-ˌän \
variants: also neurone play \-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 1

neuronal

play \ˈn(y)u̇r-ən-ᵊl, n(y)u̇-ˈrōn-ᵊl\ also neuronic play \n(y)u̇-ˈrän-ik\ adjective

Illustration of neuron

illustration of neuron



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