red blood cell

variants: or less commonly red blood corpuscle or red cell or red corpuscle

Definition of red blood cell

: any of the hemoglobin-containing cells that carry oxygen to the tissues and in mammals are typically biconcave disks which lack a nucleus and cellular organelles and are formed from nucleated cells of the red bone marrow

Note: The number of red blood cells ranges from four to six million in each cubic millimeter of normal human blood. The red color of blood is due to the presence of hemoglobin within the red blood cells.

called also erythrocyte

— compare white blood cell

Examples of red blood cell in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Folate, another B vitamin, assists the body in building new red blood cells. Jenna Birch, Washington Post, "A primer on whole grains: What they are, why they’re important and how to find them," 19 Aug. 2019 The constant oxygen deprivation can cause syndrome called chronic mountain sickness (CMS), whose hallmark is an excessive proliferation of red blood cells. Xing Liu, Science Magazine, "At 5100 meters elevation, a Peruvian gold mining town is the world’s highest settlement—and a good place to study how life at extremely low oxygen levels ravages the body.," 12 Sep. 2019 Nathan's body produces immature red blood cells, which break apart rapidly. Karina Bland, azcentral, "5-year-old Nathan is why we should allow more people to donate blood," 25 Aug. 2019 Like men, women need natural testosterone to keep bones healthy, boost cognition, improve muscle mass and create new red blood cells. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Is lack of sleep ruining your sex life?," 5 Sep. 2019 If left untreated, bites can cause hemolysis (rupturing of red blood cells); kidney failure can also occur. Christina Oehler,, "Doctors Find Brown Recluse Spider in Woman’s Ear After She Complains of 'Swooshing' Sound," 26 Aug. 2019 In beta thalassemia, the hemoglobin part of red blood cells, which is supposed to pick up oxygen from the lungs and distribute it to the cells in the rest of the body, doesn’t work properly. Time, "CRISPR Gene Editing Is Being Tested in Human Patients, and the Results Could Revolutionize Health Care," 6 Aug. 2019 Women may also experience dizziness during their periods due to anemia, a condition in which the body doesn't produce enough red blood cells to adequately distribute oxygen throughout the body. Sophia Caraballo, Woman's Day, "Here's Why You Might Experience Dizziness During Your Period — and Why You Shouldn't Ignore It," 16 Aug. 2019 However, since the genes for adult hemoglobin don’t produce healthy red blood cells in people with beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease, one treatment strategy is to introduce genetic changes that turn on fetal hemoglobin again. Time, "CRISPR Gene Editing Is Being Tested in Human Patients, and the Results Could Revolutionize Health Care," 6 Aug. 2019

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

1850, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for red blood cell

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for red blood cell

The first known use of red blood cell was in 1850

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More Definitions for red blood cell

red blood cell


English Language Learners Definition of red blood cell

: a red-colored blood cell that carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body

red blood cell


Kids Definition of red blood cell

: a tiny reddish cell of the blood that contains hemoglobin and carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues

red blood cell


Medical Definition of red blood cell

: any of the hemoglobin-containing cells that carry oxygen to the tissues and are responsible for the red color of vertebrate blood

called also erythrocyte, red blood corpuscle, red cell, red corpuscle

— compare white blood cell

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with red blood cell

Spanish Central: Translation of red blood cell

Nglish: Translation of red blood cell for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about red blood cell

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