\ ˈtau̇ How to pronounce tau (audio) , ˈtȯ \

Definition of tau

1 : the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet — see Alphabet Table
2 : a short-lived elementary particle of the lepton family that exists in positive and negative charge states and has a mass about 3500 times greater than an electron

called also tau particle

3 : a protein that binds to and regulates the assembly and stability of neuronal microtubules and that is found in an abnormal form as the major component of neurofibrillary tangles

Examples of tau in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Once tau pathology is clearly established, however, microglia may drive synapse loss and the death of neurons. Jason Ulrich, Scientific American, 1 Aug. 2021 But beta-amyloid buildup is thought to somehow prompt tau to form toxic tangles that damage neurons, explains William Jagust, a neuroscientist at UC Berkeley. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, 21 July 2021 The Health Science Center researchers are trying to better understand the disease by measuring the amount of amyloid-beta and tau present in the brain over time. Dallas News, 6 July 2021 Get this: the test can detect tau up to 20 years before patients develop any symptoms. Stephen Mcbride, Forbes, 23 June 2021 The tau-containing neurofibrillary tangles of Alzheimer’s disease usually first occur in the medial portion of the anterior temporal lobes. Daniel Gibbs, Scientific American, 21 Apr. 2021 Some researchers believe other disease markers—for example, certain forms of the protein tau—could prove more promising when incorporated in blood tests for Alzheimer’s. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, 4 Feb. 2021 In Boston, it was discovered that Piedrahita de Villegas had exceptionally large quantities of a protein seen in Alzheimer's — amyloid beta — without much tau, the toxic protein that spreads later in the disease cascade. Jennie Erin Smith, Star Tribune, 20 Dec. 2020 Scientists can track tau and amyloid proteins that accumulate as plaques and tangles in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, 23 Oct. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tau

Middle English taw, from Latin tau, from Greek, of Semitic origin; akin to Hebrew tāw taw

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The first known use of tau was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Tau.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tau. Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for tau


\ ˈtau̇ How to pronounce tau (audio) , ˈtȯ How to pronounce tau (audio) \

Medical Definition of tau

: a protein that binds to and regulates the assembly and stability of neuronal microtubules and that is found in an abnormal form as the major component of neurofibrillary tangles

called also tau protein

More from Merriam-Webster on tau

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tau


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