syn·​apse | \ ˈsi-ˌnaps How to pronounce synapse (audio) , sə-ˈnaps \

Definition of synapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the point at which a nervous impulse passes from one neuron to another


synapsed; synapsing

Definition of synapse (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to form a synapse
2 : to come together in synapsis

Examples of synapse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The chemicals assault receptors in an insect’s nerve synapse, causing uncontrollable shaking, paralysis, and death. Oliver Milman, Wired, 12 Mar. 2022 The quick-witted rapper’s wordplay keeps listeners at the edge of their seats, eagerly awaiting the elation of that next unexpected synapse. Nora Lee, Billboard, 16 June 2022 Daydreaming ignites neural synapse activity in deeper regions of the brain and gives the frontal neo-cortex a break. Natalie Nixon, Forbes, 16 May 2022 The researchers imaged the pallium before and after the fish learned, and analyzed the changes in synapse strength and location. Quanta Magazine, 3 Mar. 2022 But artificial intelligence researchers typically have to train artificial neural networks on hundreds or thousands of examples of a pattern or concept before the synapse strengths adjust enough for the network to learn the pattern. Quanta Magazine, 7 July 2021 Most drugs for neurodevelopmental disorders act at the level of the synapse by changing neurotransmitters, Davis explained. Katie Palmer, STAT, 5 Aug. 2021 Once tau pathology is clearly established, however, microglia may drive synapse loss and the death of neurons. Jason Ulrich, Scientific American, 1 Aug. 2021 Their near-coincident firings cause the synapse, or connection, between them to strengthen, and this coupling of the place cells ingrains the rat’s trajectory into the brain. Quanta Magazine, 7 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb His University of Pavia lab studies synapse formation as well as collagen production and its possible implications in cancer metastasis. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, 16 Mar. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'synapse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of synapse


1899, in the meaning defined above


1910, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for synapse


New Latin synapsis, from Greek, juncture, from synaptein to fasten together, from syn- + haptein to fasten

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Time Traveler for synapse

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The first known use of synapse was in 1899

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Last Updated

14 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Synapse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for synapse


syn·​apse | \ ˈsi-ˌnaps How to pronounce synapse (audio) \

Kids Definition of synapse

: the point at which a nerve impulse passes from one nerve cell to another


syn·​apse | \ ˈsin-ˌaps also sə-ˈnaps, chiefly British ˈsī-ˌnaps \

Medical Definition of synapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the place at which a nerve impulse passes from one neuron to another
2 : synapsis


intransitive verb
synapsed; synapsing

Medical Definition of synapse (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form a synapse or come together in synapsis

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