neu·​ro·​trans·​mit·​ter | \ ˌnu̇r-ō-tran(t)s-ˈmi-tər, -tranz-, ˌnyu̇r-\

Definition of neurotransmitter

: a substance (such as norepinephrine or acetylcholine) that transmits nerve impulses across a synapse

Examples of neurotransmitter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Photo: Frank May/DPA/ZUMA Press Gaming affects the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter tied to the brain’s reward system and linked by researchers to addiction. Betsy Morris, WSJ, "How Fortnite Triggered an Unwinnable War Between Parents and Their Boys," 21 Dec. 2018 Rather than targeting those proteins, these medications alter the way neurotransmitters function in the brain. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "How Exactly Do Different Kinds of Alzheimer’s Medications Work?," 6 Dec. 2018 All sorts of health issues are associated with a poorly functioning digestive system, from skin problems, to nutrient deficiencies, to impaired production of neurotransmitters and other feel good hormones, to a weakened immune system. Steven Macari, Harper's BAZAAR, "Drink Responsibly: A Healthy Guide to Imbibing," 21 Feb. 2014 This is likely due to a boost in endorphins, mood- enhancing chemicals in your body, and because exercise increases the flow of a different happy-inducing neurotransmitter. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "12 Celebrities Who Talk About Mental Health," 10 Oct. 2018 Light regulates a whole host of biological processes, including hormones and neurotransmitters and even when genes turn on and off. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Tis the Season To Get Yourself a Lightbox," 24 Oct. 2018 These are components of nerve cells that detect chemical signals—aka neurotransmitters, in this case dopamine—that are sent from other nerve cells. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Blockbuster drug Abilify nears Judgment Day over compulsive gambling, sex," 3 Aug. 2018 There are more than 100 of these chemicals (neurotransmitters) and many neurons release more than one. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Heroes of Science Who Are Unlocking the Brain," 3 Oct. 2018 Ultimately, the results of the study into T. gondii found that the parasite could be affecting neurotransmitters in our brains and hormones like testosterone, making us more impulsive and less afraid of taking risks. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "How Cat Poop Can Affect Your Health," 9 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'neurotransmitter.' 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 neurotransmitter

1961, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about neurotransmitter

Share neurotransmitter

Statistics for neurotransmitter

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for neurotransmitter

The first known use of neurotransmitter was in 1961

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for neurotransmitter



English Language Learners Definition of neurotransmitter

medical : a substance in the body that carries a signal from one nerve cell to another


neu·​ro·​trans·​mit·​ter | \ ˌn(y)u̇r-ō-tran(t)s-ˈmit-ər, -tranz- \

Medical Definition of neurotransmitter

: a substance (as norepinephrine or acetylcholine) that transmits nerve impulses across a synapse — see false neurotransmitter

More from Merriam-Webster on neurotransmitter Encyclopedia article about neurotransmitter

Comments on neurotransmitter

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


important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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