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cell 1

any small compartment: the cells of a honeycomb

( biology ) the basic structural and functional unit of living organisms. It consists of a nucleus, containing the genetic material, surrounded by the cytoplasm in which are mitochondria, lysosomes, ribosomes, and other organelles. All cells are bounded by a cell membrane; plant cells have an outer cell wall in addition

( biology ) any small cavity or area, such as the cavity containing pollen in an anther

a device for converting chemical energy into electrical energy, usually consisting of a container with two electrodes immersed in an electrolyte See also primary cell. secondary cell. dry cell. wet cell. fuel cell

a small religious house dependent upon a larger one

a small group of persons operating as a nucleus of a larger political, religious, or other organization: Communist cell

( maths ) a small unit of volume in a mathematical coordinate system

( zoology ) one of the areas on an insect wing bounded by veins

the geographical area served by an individual transmitter in a cellular radio network

cell

early 12c. “small monastery, subordinate monastery” (from Medieval Latin in this sense), later “small room for a monk or a nun in a monastic establishment; a hermit’s dwelling” (c.1300), from Latin cella “small room, store room, hut,” related to Latin celare “to hide, conceal.”

The Latin word represents PIE root *kel- “conceal” (cf. Sanskrit cala “hut, house, hall;” Greek kalia “hut, nest,” kalyptein “to cover,” koleon “sheath,” kelyphos “shell, husk;” Latin clam “secret;” Old Irish cuile “cellar,” celim “hide,” Middle Irish cul “defense, shelter;” Gothic hulistr “covering,” Old English heolstor “lurking-hole, cave, covering,” Gothic huljan “cover over,” hulundi “hole,” hilms “helmet,” halja “hell,” Old English hol “cave,” holu “husk, pod”).

Sense of monastic rooms extended to prison rooms (1722). Used in 14c. figuratively, of brain “compartments;” used in biology by 17c. of various cavities (e.g. wood structure, segments of fruit, bee combs), gradually focusing to the modern sense of “basic structure of living organisms” (which OED dates to 1845).

Electric battery sense is from 1828, based on original form. Meaning “small group of people working within a larger organization” is from 1925. Cell body is from 1851; cell division from 1846; cell membrane from 1837 (but cellular membrane is 1732); cell wall from 1842.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cells in Medicine Expand

The smallest structural unit of an organism that is capable of independent functioning, consisting of one or more nuclei, cytoplasm, and various organelles, all surrounded by a semipermeable cell membrane.

A small enclosed cavity or space.

The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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cells in Science Expand

The basic unit of living matter in all organisms, consisting of protoplasm enclosed within a cell membrane. All cells except bacterial cells have a distinct nucleus that contains the cell’s DNA as well as other structures (called organelles) that include mitochondria, the endoplasmic reticulum, and vacuoles. The main source of energy for all of a cell’s biological processes is ATP. See more at eukaryote. prokaryote.

Any of various devices, or units within such devices, that are capable of converting some form of energy into electricity. Cells contain two electrodes and an electrolyte. See more at electrolytic cell. solar cell, voltaic cell.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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cells in Culture Expand

cell definition

A region of the atmosphere in which air tends to circulate without flowing outward.

cell definition

The basic unit of all living things except viruses. In advanced organisms, cells consist of a nucleus (which contains genetic material), cytoplasm. and organelles. all of which are surrounded by a cell membrane .

Note . Groups of cells with similar structure and function form tissues.

cell phone (cellular telephone)

A portable telephone that uses wireless cellular technology to send and receive phone signals. This technology works by dividing the Earth into small regions called cells. Within each cell the wireless telephone signal goes over its assigned bandwidth to a cell tower, which relays the signal to a telephone switching network, connecting the user to the desired party.

Note . The proximity to a cell tower is often the key to good reception when using a cell phone.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for cells Expand

cel

A celluloid sheet made for an animated cartoon, now prized by collectors: Cartoon lovers have been buying drawings and celluloids, or ”cels”(1990s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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