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Related to Cells: Tissues, Plant Cells
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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.
6. Electricity
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.]


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.
References in classic literature ?
She hears him coming and hides, sees him put the potions into two cups of wine and bid the the timid little servant, "Bear them to the captives in their cells, and tell them I shall come anon.
Hearing him foolishly fumbling there, the Captain laughs lowly to himself, and mutters something about the doors of convicts' cells being never allowed to be locked within.
The lower subdivided part, called the junk, is one immense honeycomb of oil, formed by the crossing and re-crossing, into ten thousand infiltrated cells, of tough elastic white fibres throughout its whole extent.
At midnight they opened the station house to the homeless wanderers who were crowded about the door, shivering in the winter blast, and they thronged into the corridor outside of the cells.
These were down under the castle's foundations, and mainly were small cells hollowed out of the living rock.
There were two prison cells, and neither had space left on walls or ceiling for another name or portrait or picture.
We did not get much to eat, nor that which was very good; but we had a good clean room, from the windows of which we could see what was go- ing on in the street, which was very much better than though we had been placed in one of the dark, damp cells.
I lingered at the gates; I lingered on the lawn; I paced backwards and forwards on the pavement; the shutters of the glass door were closed; I could not see into the interior; and both my eyes and spirit seemed drawn from the gloomy house--from the grey-hollow filled with rayless cells, as it appeared to me--to that sky expanded before me,--a blue sea absolved from taint of cloud; the moon ascending it in solemn march; her orb seeming to look up as she left the hill-tops, from behind which she had come, far and farther below her, and aspired to the zenith, midnight dark in its fathomless depth and measureless distance; and for those trembling stars that followed her course; they made my heart tremble, my veins glow when I viewed them.
Now, it struck me, when we began to visit individuals in their cells, and to traverse the passages in which those cells were, and to have the manner of the going to chapel and so forth, explained to us, that there was a strong probability of the prisoners knowing a good deal about each other, and of their carrying on a pretty complete system of intercourse.
And here let those Who boast in mortal things, and wondring tell Of BABEL, and the works of MEMPHIAN Kings, Learn how thir greatest Monuments of Fame, And Strength and Art are easily outdone By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour What in an age they with incessant toyle And hands innumerable scarce perform Nigh on the Plain in many cells prepar'd, That underneath had veins of liquid fire Sluc'd from the Lake, a second multitude With wondrous Art founded the massie Ore, Severing each kinde, and scum'd the Bullion dross: A third as soon had form'd within the ground A various mould, and from the boyling cells By strange conveyance fill'd each hollow nook, As in an Organ from one blast of wind To many a row of Pipes the sound-board breaths.
In the anteroom he found his attendant Anwold, who, taking the torch from the hand of the waiting-maid, conducted him with more haste than ceremony to an exterior and ignoble part of the building, where a number of small apartments, or rather cells, served for sleeping places to the lower order of domestics, and to strangers of mean degree.
In one of these cells were several globes, or balls, of a most ponderous metal, about the bigness of our heads, and requiring a strong hand to lift them: the other cell contained a heap of certain black grains, but of no great bulk or weight, for we could hold above fifty of them in the palms of our hands.