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cell definition

Overview

This page has 36 definitions of cell with English translations in 6 languages. Cell is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use cell in a sentence are shown. Also define these 61 related words and terms: dwelling, hermit, monastery, nunnery, room, prison, jail, inmate, prison cell, hexagonal, honeycomb, biology, botany, chamber, tissue, organism, entomology, discal, wing, lepidopteran, insect, compartment, brain, knowledge, memories, section, nook, den, caveau, electricity, battery, protoplasm, cell membrane, meteorology, thunderstorm, convection, computing, cellular automaton, card game, FreeCell, card, group, communication, packet, geometry, three-dimensional, facet, polytope, statistics, architecture, cella, cellular phone, mobile phone, gsm, mobiel, téléphone cellulaire, church, cell, llyfrgell, library, and llyfr.

English cell definition

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

From Middle English celle, selle, from Old English cell (attested in inflected forms), from Latin cella (chamber, small room, compartment), later reinforced by Old French cel, sele, Old French cele. Doublet of cella; ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ḱelneh₂, from Proto-Indo-European *ḱel- (to cover).

Noun

cell (plural cells)

  1. A single-room dwelling for a hermit. [from 10th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VI.6:
      So, taking them apart into his cell, / He to that point fit speaches gan to frame […].
    • 1764, Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto, IV:
      For three days he and his attendants had wandered in the forest without seeing a human form: but on the evening of the third they came to a cell, in which they found a venerable hermit in the agonies of death.
  2. (now historical) A small monastery or nunnery dependent on a larger religious establishment. [from 11th c.]
  3. A small room in a monastery or nunnery accommodating one person. [from 14th c.]
    Gregor Mendel must have spent a good amount of time outside of his cell.
  4. A room in a prison or jail for one or more inmates. [from 18th c.]
    Synonym: prison cell
    The combatants spent the night in separate cells.
    • Jail definition
      A place or institution for the confinement of persons held in lawful custody or detention, especially for minor offenses or with reference to some future judicial proceeding. (1 of 5 jail definitions)
  5. Each of the small hexagonal compartments in a honeycomb. [from 14th c.]
    • Honeycomb definition
      A structure of hexagonal cells made by bees primarily of wax, to hold their larvae and for storing the honey to feed the larvae and to feed themselves during winter. (1 of 6 honeycomb definitions)
  6. (biology, now chiefly botany) Any of various chambers in a tissue or organism having specific functions. [from 14th c.]
    • 1858, Asa Gray, Introduction to Structural and Systematic Botany, fifth edition, p. 282:
      Each of the two cells or lobes of the anther is marked with a lateral line or furrow, running from top to bottom [].
    • Botany definition
      The scientific study of plants, a branch of biology. Typically those disciplines that involve the whole plant. (1 of 4 botany definitions)
  7. (entomology) The discal cell of the wing of a lepidopteran insect.
    • Discal definition
  8. (obsolete) Specifically, any of the supposed compartments of the brain, formerly thought to be the source of specific mental capacities, knowledge, or memories. [14th-19th c.]
    • 1890, Oscar Wilde, chapter XVI, in The Picture of Dorian Gray:
      From cell to cell of his brain crept the one thought; and the wild desire to live, most terrible of all man's appetites, quickened into force each trembling nerve and fibre.
    • Knowledge definition
      The fact of knowing about something; general understanding or familiarity with a subject, place, situation etc. (1 of 12 knowledge definitions)
  9. A section or compartment of a larger structure. [from 16th c.]
  10. (obsolete, chiefly literary) Any small dwelling; a remote nook, a den. [16th-19th c.]
  11. A device which stores electrical power; used either singly or together in batteries; the basic unit of a battery. [from 19th c.]
    This MP3 player runs on 2 AAA cells.
    • Electricity definition
      Originally, a property of amber and certain other nonconducting substances to attract lightweight material when rubbed, or the cause of this property; now understood to be a phenomenon caused by the distribution and movement of charged subatomic particles and their interaction with the electromagnetic field. (1 of 4 electricity definitions)
  12. (biology) The basic unit of a living organism, consisting of a quantity of protoplasm surrounded by a cell membrane, which is able to synthesize proteins and replicate itself. [from 19th c.]
    • 1999, Paul Brown & Dave King, The Guardian, 15 Feb 1999:
      An American company has applied to experiment in Britain on Parkinson's disease sufferers by injecting their brains with cells from pigs.
    • 2011, Terence Allen & Graham Cowling, The Cell: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford 2011, p. 3:
      In multicellular organisms, groups of cells form tissues and tissues come together to form organs.
  13. (meteorology) A small thunderstorm, caused by convection, that forms ahead of a storm front. [from 20th c.]
    There is a powerful storm cell headed our way.
  14. (computing) The minimal unit of a cellular automaton that can change state and has an associated behavior. [from 20th c.]
    The upper right cell always starts with the color green.
    • Cellular Automaton definition
      An automaton consisting of cells arranged in a regular grid, in one or more dimensions. Each application of an associated rule creates a new generation, where the cells have a new configuration of values.
  15. (card games) In FreeCell-type games, a space where one card can be placed.
    • Freecell definition
      A solitaire card game, similar to Klondike but with the addition of cells where one card can be placed at a time.
  16. A small group of people forming part of a larger organization, often an outlawed one. [from 20th c.]
    Those three fellows are the local cell of that organization.
  17. (communication) A short, fixed-length packet as in asynchronous transfer mode. [from 20th c.]
    Virtual Channel number 5 received 170 cells.
  18. (communication) A region of radio reception that is a part of a larger radio network.
    I get good reception in my home because it is near a cell tower.
  19. (geometry) A three-dimensional facet of a polytope.
  20. (statistics) The unit in a statistical array (a spreadsheet, for example) where a row and a column intersect.
    • Statistics definition
      A discipline, principally within applied mathematics, concerned with the systematic study of the collection, presentation, analysis, and interpretation of data.
  21. (architecture) The space between the ribs of a vaulted roof.
  22. (architecture) A cella.
    • Cella definition
      The central, enclosed part of an ancient temple, as distinguished from the open porticos.
  23. (entomology) An area of an insect wing bounded by veins
Usage notes

In the sense of an electrical device, "cell" is the technically correct name for a single unit of battery-type power storage, whereas a battery is a device comprising multiple of them, though it is often used for simple cells.

Quotations
Synonyms
Derived terms
Related terms
Translations
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb

cell (third-person singular simple present cells, present participle celling, simple past and past participle celled)

  1. (transitive) To place or enclose in a cell.
    • 1586, William Warner, Albion's England:
      Myself a recluse from the world, And celled under ground, Lest that the gould, the precious stones, And pleasures, here be found

Etymology 2

From cell phone, from cellular phone, from cellular + telephone

Noun

cell (plural cells)

  1. (US, informal) A cellular phone.
Usage notes
  • Widely used attributively.
Translations

Further reading


Dutch cell definition

Etymology

Clipping of cellulair or borrowed directly from English cell.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /sɛl/
  • Hyphenation: cell

Noun

cell m (plural cells, diminutive celltje n)

  1. (Suriname, colloquial) cellular phone, mobile phone.
    • 2001, Alex van Stipriaan, “Contact! Marrons en de transport- en communicatierevolutie in het Surinaamse binnenland [Contact! Maroons and the transport and communication revolution in Suriname's hinterland]”, in OSO. Tijdschrift voor Surinaamse taalkunde, letterkunde en geschiedenis[1], page 41:
      Door de ‘cell’ is het mogelijk de banden met verwanten elders innig te houden of zelfs te herstellen.
      The mobile phone makes it possible to keep close ties with relatives elsewhere or even to restore them.
    Synonyms: (Belgium) gsm, (Netherlands) mobiel
    • Mobile Phone definition
      A portable telephone that connects with the telephone network over radio wave transmission.
    • Gsm definition
      Initialism of grams per square metre (unit for measuring the weight of paper)
    • Mobiel definition
      mobile
Derived terms

French cell definition

Etymology

Clipping of cellulaire.

Pronunciation

Noun

cell m (plural cells)

  1. (Quebec, colloquial) cellular phone, mobile phone; Abbreviation of téléphone cellulaire..
    • Téléphone Cellulaire definition
      a cellular telephone / cellphone

Synonyms


Old Irish cell definition

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin cella.

Pronunciation

Noun

cell f

  1. church

Inflection

Feminine ā-stem
Singular Dual Plural
Nominative cellL ceillL, cillN cellaH
Vocative cellL ceillL, cillN cellaH
Accusative ceillN, cillN ceillL, cillN cellaH
Genitive cilleH cellL cellN
Dative ceillL, cillN cellaib cellaib
Initial mutations of a following adjective:
  • H = triggers aspiration
  • L = triggers lenition
  • N = triggers nasalization

Descendants

Mutation

Old Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Nasalization
cell chell cell
pronounced with /ɡ(ʲ)-/
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

References


Swedish cell definition

Pronunciation

Noun

cell c

  1. cell; a room in a prison.
  2. Cell; a room in a monastery for sleeping one person.
  3. Cell; a small group of people forming part of a larger organization.
  4. (biology) Cell; the basic unit of a living organism.
  5. (biology) Cell; a cavity in a structure such as a honeycomb.
  6. (computing) Cell; a minimal unit of a cellular automaton.

Declension

Declension of cell 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative cell cellen celler cellerna
Genitive cells cellens cellers cellernas

Welsh cell definition

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin cella.

Pronunciation

Noun

cell f (plural celloedd)

  1. cell
  2. Often used as the second part of a compound word denoting a place, i.e. llyfrgell (library), literally "llyfr" (book) + "cell".
    • Llyfrgell definition
      library
    • Library definition
      An institution which holds books and/or other forms of media for use by the public or qualified people often lending them out, as well as providing various other services for its users. (1 of 8 library definitions)
    • Llyfr definition
      book

Mutation

Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
cell gell nghell chell
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.