or·​gan·​elle | \ ˌȯr-gə-ˈnel \

Definition of organelle

: a specialized cellular part (such as a mitochondrion, chloroplast, or nucleus) that has a specific function and is considered analogous to an organ

Examples of organelle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Mirco 11 will study how the space influences the shape of this organelle, the behavior of which is of keen interest to fertility specialists. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Why There Are Sperm Swimming Around at the Space Station," 16 July 2018 Somehow the organelles will gravitate almost magically to the injured cells that need them and take up residence. New York Times, "Dying Organs Restored to Life in Novel Experiments," 10 July 2018 Tiny organelles, called mitochondria, exist inside living cells and have their own DNA. Virginia Gewin, The Atlantic, "A Handheld DNA Scanner Could Crack Down on Wildlife Identity Theft," 9 Feb. 2018 For plants, researchers often build two phylogenetic trees: one for the DNA stores in the nucleus of the plant's cells and one for the chlorophyll-producing organelles called chloroplasts, which have their own DNA. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Polynesians may not have gone grocery shopping in South America," 12 Apr. 2018 The organelles are where oxidative phosphorylation takes place, and breaking them up may make that metabolic pathway less efficient and promote glycolysis, the researchers suggest. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "To treat some diseases, researchers are putting immune cells on a diet," 29 Mar. 2018 Effector T cells, by contrast, turn up glycolysis and are heavy glucose users—a difference reflected in their mitochondria, the organelles that serve as cellular power plants, Pearce and her colleagues reported 2 years ago. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "To treat some diseases, researchers are putting immune cells on a diet," 29 Mar. 2018 Hill says that’s likely because the enzyme that converts yellow pigments into red is associated with the mitochondria, the energy producing organelles in cells. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Rare Yellow Cardinal Spotted at Alabama Bird Feeder," 27 Feb. 2018 Mitochondria are organelles that contain their own DNA. Bradley J. Fikes,, "Salk Institute hires two noted researchers," 2 July 2017

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

1915, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for organelle

New Latin organella, from Latin organum

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Time Traveler for organelle

The first known use of organelle was in 1915

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More Definitions for organelle


or·​gan·​elle | \ ˌȯr-gə-ˈnel\

Kids Definition of organelle

: a structure (as a lysosome) in a cell that performs a special function


or·​gan·​elle | \ ˌȯr-gə-ˈnel \

Medical Definition of organelle

: a specialized cellular part (as a mitochondrion or nucleus) that has a specific function and is considered analogous to an organ

More from Merriam-Webster on organelle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with organelle Encyclopedia article about organelle

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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