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 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 dendrites transmit signals to the neuron’s cell body, where the signals are integrated. Quanta Magazine, 18 Feb. 2021 The louder the sound, the more often the neuron was spiking—and the higher its firing rate. Grace Huckins, Wired, 11 June 2021 The chemical turns light into an electrical impulse, causing the neuron to fire as well. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 8 June 2021 Scientists had widely supposed that all the receptors on an individual olfactory neuron were of the same class, and that neurons for different classes went to segregated processing regions of the brain. Jordana Cepelewicz, Wired, 27 June 2021 Scientists had widely supposed that all the receptors on an individual olfactory neuron were of the same class, and that neurons for different classes went to segregated processing regions of the brain. Quanta Magazine, 21 June 2021 But the leading research hypothesis is that a buildup of harmful amyloid plaque in the brain triggers a cascade of chemical changes that interfere with neuron communication and cause brain loss. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 21 June 2021 Optogenetics was originally created as a research tool to study neuron activity in the brain. Caroline Seydel, Forbes, 14 June 2021 Scientists add the gene for a light-sensitive protein called an opsin from algae or bacteria and then shine a light on the cell to trigger the opsin to change shape, which switches the neuron’s activity on or off. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, 24 May 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near neuron

neuromuscular

neuron

neurone

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Statistics for neuron

Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Neuron.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neuron. Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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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 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

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

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