vac·​u·​ole | \ ˈva-kyə-ˌwōl How to pronounce vacuole (audio) \

Definition of vacuole

1 : a small cavity or space in the tissues of an organism containing air or fluid
2 : a cavity or vesicle in the cytoplasm of a cell usually containing fluid — see cell illustration

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Other Words from vacuole

vacuolar \ ˌva-​kyə-​ˈwō-​lər How to pronounce vacuole (audio) , -​ˌlär \ adjective

Examples of vacuole in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Depending on the density of the flock and speed of the predator, the starlings’ reactions can take many escape patterns, including flying outward to create a vacuole—an empty space. Lauryn Hill, Wired, "Stunning Images of Starlings in Flight," 5 Feb. 2021 The central empty spaces are vacuoles, which get larger and larger as injured cells approach death. Sharon Begley, STAT, "In ‘Beautiful Brain,’ the secrets of neurons emerge in Nobel-winning scientist’s ink and pencil drawings," 3 May 2018 Unlike Thioploca and a related genus called Beggiatoa, it was not contained in a containment sac called a vacuole. Scientific American Blog Network, "Bacterial Hair on Undersea Volcano Unlike Any Seen Before," 21 Apr. 2017 In this slice of potato 1,000 times thinner than a Pringle, the red circles are vacuoles Tom Conlon, WIRED, "WIRED Puts Your Thanksgiving Feast Under a Microscope," 23 Oct. 2007 As the ice evaporated and carbon dioxide built up in the surrounding air, the acidity increased, causing the pigments stored in tiny vacuoles, or bubbles in the petal’s outer cells, to shift from blue to pink. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "A Quick, Colorful Change for a Morning Glory," 2 Mar. 2016

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

1853, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vacuole

borrowed from French, probably borrowed from New Latin vacuolum "little vacuum," from Medieval Latin vacuum vacuum entry 1 + Latin -olum, variant of -ulum -ule with stems ending in a vowel

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Time Traveler for vacuole

Time Traveler

The first known use of vacuole was in 1853

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Statistics for vacuole

Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vacuole.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for vacuole


vac·​u·​ole | \ ˈva-kyə-ˌwōl How to pronounce vacuole (audio) \

Kids Definition of vacuole

: a hollow space in the cytoplasm of a cell that is usually filled with liquid


vac·​u·​ole | \ ˈvak-yə-ˌwōl How to pronounce vacuole (audio) \

Medical Definition of vacuole

1 : a small cavity or space in the tissues of an organism containing air or fluid
2 : a cavity or vesicle in the cytoplasm of a cell containing fluid

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