Definition of polyp
1 : a coelenterate (as a coral) that has typically a hollow cylindrical body closed and attached at one end and opening at the other by a central mouth surrounded by tentacles armed with nematocysts
2 : a growth projecting from a mucous membrane (as of the colon or vocal cords)
polypoidplay \-lə-ˌpȯid\ adjective
Did You Know?
This term comes from polypous, a Greek word for "octopus", which meant literally "many-footed". To the untrained eye, the invertebrate known as the polyp may likewise appear to be many-footed, though it never walks anywhere since its "feet" are tentacles, used for stinging tiny organisms which the polyp then devours. The types of tumor known as polyps got their name because some seem to be attached to the surface by branching "foot"-like roots, even though most do not. Polyps of the nose or vocal cords are usually only inconvenient, causing breathing difficulty or hoarseness, and can be removed easily; however, polyps in the intestines can sometimes turn cancerous.
Origin and Etymology of polyp
French polype octopus, nasal polyp, from Old French polipe, from Latin polypus, from Greek polypous, from poly- + pous foot — more at foot
First Known Use: 1742
POLYP Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of polyp for English Language Learners
medical : a small lump that grows inside your body (such as inside your colon or on your vocal cords)
: a small sea animal (such as a coral) that has a body shaped like a tube
POLYP Defined for Kids
Definition of polyp for Students
: a small sea animal (as a coral) having a tubelike body closed and attached to something (as a rock) at one end and opening at the other with a mouth surrounded by tentacles
Medical Definition of polyp
: a projecting mass of swollen and hypertrophied or tumorous membrane (as in the nasal cavity or the intestine)—called also polypus
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