plas·​ma | \ˈplaz-mə \

Definition of plasma 

1 : a green faintly translucent quartz

2 [ New Latin, from Late Latin ]

a : the fluid part of blood, lymph, or milk as distinguished from suspended material especially : blood plasma

b : the juice that can be expressed from muscle

4 : a collection of charged particles (as in the atmospheres of stars or in a metal) containing about equal numbers of positive ions and electrons and exhibiting some properties of a gas but differing from a gas in being a good conductor of electricity and in being affected by a magnetic field

5 : a display (such as a television screen) consisting of discrete cells of plasma sandwiched between two layers of glass and electrodes such that each cell emits light when it receives an electric current

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Other Words from plasma

plasmatic \plaz-​ˈma-​tik \ adjective

Examples of plasma in a Sentence

the plasma that makes up a star Our new TV is a 50-inch plasma.

Recent Examples on the Web

The sun's solar wind—plasma—maintains this bubble against the pressures of helium and hydrogen gasses from the Milky Way. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Voyager 2 Is Getting Close to Interstellar Space," 5 Oct. 2018 The world’s largest experimental fusion reactor, the ITER facility in Grenoble, France, is designed to contain plasma using powerful magnetic fields. NBC News, "5 ways the world's fastest supercomputer could change the world," 18 June 2018 Commercial clinics, in Ms. George’s view, take advantage of the poor, who sell their plasma too frequently for their own health. Laura Landro, WSJ, "‘Nine Pints’ Review: The Stuff of Life," 29 Oct. 2018 Their vitamin D levels, as well as two measurements for diabetes — fasting plasma glucose and oral glucose tolerance — were recorded. Amy Capetta, Woman's Day, "What Is Vitamin D Good For Anyway?," 19 Oct. 2018 But special circumstances — such as coronal holes and giant explosions of solar plasma called coronal mass ejections — can extend the intensity and the reach of these dazzling light displays. Mike Wall,, "Hole in Sun's Atmosphere Amps Up Northern Lights," 11 Sep. 2018 These are the sudden explosions of plasma and particles that spew from the sun and could potentially knock out power grids on Earth. Brian Resnick, Vox, "NASA is shooting a spaceship at the sun. It might help us solve a huge mystery.," 8 Aug. 2018 Diagram of the layers of a stellarator, with the hydrogen plasma in the middle. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "German Nuclear Fusion Experiment Sets Records for Stellarator Reactor," 26 June 2018 The team's innovation is a dielectric barrier discharge plasma actuator adhesive strip that can stick to the surface of wind turbine blades, plane wings and truck trailers. Justin Madden,, "300-gallon spill closes portion of I-480, police say," 19 Apr. 2018

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

1517, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plasma

German, from Late Latin, something molded, from Greek, from plassein to mold — more at plaster

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Dictionary Entries near plasma





plasma cell



Statistics for plasma

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plasma

The first known use of plasma was in 1517

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More Definitions for plasma



English Language Learners Definition of plasma

medical : the watery part of blood that contains blood cells

: a substance that is similar to a gas but that can carry electricity

: a type of visual display for computers, televisions, etc., that uses plasma with electrical charges between two sheets of glass and that produces pictures that are very clear and bright


plas·​ma | \ˈplaz-mə \

Kids Definition of plasma

: the watery part of blood, lymph, or milk


plas·​ma | \ˈplaz-mə \

Medical Definition of plasma 

1a : the fluid part especially of blood, lymph, or milk that is distinguished from suspended material — see blood plasma

b : the juice that can be expressed from muscle

3 : a mixture of starch and gel used as an ointment base

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More from Merriam-Webster on plasma

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plasma

Spanish Central: Translation of plasma

Nglish: Translation of plasma for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plasma for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about plasma

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