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1. A narrow confining room, as in a prison or convent.
2. A small enclosed cavity or space, such as a compartment in a honeycomb or within a plant ovary or an area bordered by veins in an insect's wing.
3. Biology The smallest structural unit of an organism that is capable of independent functioning, consisting of cytoplasm, usually one nucleus, and various other organelles, all surrounded by a semipermeable cell membrane.
4. Architecture See web.
5. The smallest organizational unit of a clandestine group or movement, such as a banned political movement or a terrorist group. A cell's leader is often the only person who knows members of the organization outside the cell.
a. A single unit for electrolysis or conversion of chemical into electric energy, usually consisting of a container with electrodes and an electrolyte; a battery. Also called electrochemical cell.
b. A single unit that converts radiant energy into electric energy: a solar cell.
7. A fuel cell.
a. A geographic area or zone surrounding a transmitter in a cellular telephone system.
b. A cell phone.
9. Computers A basic unit of storage in a computer memory that can hold one unit of information, such as a character or word.
10. A storm cell.
11. A small humble abode, such as a hermit's cave or hut.
12. A small religious house dependent on a larger one, such as a priory within an abbey.
13. A box or other unit on a spreadsheet or similar array at the intersection of a column and a row.
v. celled, cell·ing, cells
To store in a honeycomb.
To live in or share a prison cell.
[Middle English celle, from Old English cell and from Old French, both from Latin cella, chamber; see kel- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also biology.
growth, especially owing to an increase in cell size. Cf. merisis. — auxetic, adj.
a cell or tissue that stains easily. — basophilic, basophilous, adj.
the breakdown of the protoplasm that contains the genes in the cell nucleus.
the branch of cytology that deals with the chemistry of living cells. — cytochemical, adj.
the branch of biology that studies the structure, function, multiplication, and life history of cells. — cytologist, n. — cytologie, cytological, adj.
the degeneration of cells. — cytolytic, adj.
the protoplasm of a cell, not including the nucleus. — cytoplasmic, adj.
the study of human cells, especially to detect signs of cancer. — cytotechnologist, n. — cytotechnologic, adj.
the outer part of the cytoplasm of a cell. Cf. endoplasm. — ectoplasmic, adj.
the formation and growth of an embryo. — embryogenic, — embryogenetic, adj.
the inner part of the cytoplasm of a cell. Cf. ectoplasm. — endoplasmic, adj.
the formation of a cell as a new product and not as the result of development from some existing cell. — epigenetic, adj.
a branch of cytology dealing with the structure of cell nuclei, especially chromosomes. — karyologic, karyological, adj.
the substance forming the nucleus of a cell. — karyoplasmic, karyoplasmatic, adj.
the aggregate of morphological characteristics of the chromosomes in a cell. — karyotypic, karyotypical, adj.
the destruction of cells by the action of certain lysins. See also health. — lytic, adj.
any form of growth, especially as a product of cell division. Cf. auxesis.
the normal process of cell division. — mitotic, adj.
any simple, single-cell organism. — monadic, monadical, monadal, adj.
a cell or tissue that accepts a stain from a neutral solution. — neutrophilous, adj.
the process by which fluids pass through a semipermeable membrane into a solution of lower concentration to equalize the concentration on both sides of the membrane. — osmotic, adj.
the action of phagocytes in ingesting and destroying cells.
the form of protoplasm that constitutes the nutritive element of a cell. — trophoplasmic, trophoplasmatic, adj.
the movement of cells in relation to food or nutritive matter. — trophotropic, adj.
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.