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 In fact, Couzin’s team has argued that a collective is smarter than any of its members, like a brain being better at thinking than a single neuron. Adam Rogers, Wired, "What the Science of Animal Networks Reveals About Protests," 31 July 2020 Most people have the fundamental capacity to be empathic, Lerner said, which involves a brain network of the mirror neuron system, the insula and the limbic system. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Empathy is both a trait and a skill. Here's how to strengthen it," 24 June 2020 Neurons fire an electrical impulse when the voltage difference between the inside and outside of the neuron reaches a certain trigger point. Quanta Magazine, "Spreading the Word on a Possible Alzheimer’s Treatment," 27 May 2020 The researchers surmise that’s because the neuron connections that compare the inner circle to the outer black ones get weaker as the primary visual cortex gets larger. Claire Maldarelli, Popular Science, "These two red dots are actually identical. Here’s how," 2 June 2020 The peaks and troughs of voltage oscillations in brain waves nudge the neuron closer to the trigger point or farther away from it, thereby boosting or inhibiting its tendency to fire. Quanta Magazine, "Spreading the Word on a Possible Alzheimer’s Treatment," 27 May 2020 GABA’s primary function is to reduce the activity of neurons. Andrea Petersen, WSJ, "More People Are Taking Drugs for Anxiety and Insomnia, and Doctors Are Worried," 25 May 2020 Infant’s neurons fire at the sight of a human face. Joyce Carol Oates, Harper's Magazine, "Still Life," 25 May 2020 Oxytocin changes the way neurons fire in parents, says Bianca Jones Marlin, PhD, the study's author and a neuroscientist and postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute for Mind, Brain, and Behaviour. Molly Longman, refinery29.com, "Is Maternal Instinct Real?," 12 May 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.

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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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Time Traveler for neuron

Time Traveler

The first known use of neuron was in 1891

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Last Updated

7 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Neuron.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neuron. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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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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