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[sist] /sɪst/
Pathology. a closed, bladderlike sac formed in animal tissues, containing fluid or semifluid matter.
a bladder, sac, or vesicle.
Botany, Mycology.
  1. a sporelike cell with a resistant, protective wall.
  2. a cell or cavity enclosing reproductive bodies.
  1. a sac, usually spherical, surrounding an animal that has passed into a dormant condition.
  2. such a sac plus the contained animal.
  3. a capsule or resistant covering.
Origin of cyst
1705-15; < New Latin cystis < Greek kýstis bag, pouch, the bladder; akin to kŷma cyma


variant of cysto-, before a vowel:


variant of cysto-, as final element in a compound word:
statocyst. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cyst
  • For example, when doctors feel a growth or cyst in the thyroid, they can probe it with a skinny needle.
  • The cyst has not gotten smaller, but it hasn't gotten bigger either.
  • Many hours later the neurologist called and told me the shadow indicated a cyst and not to worry.
  • If the egg is not expelled, fluids and other substances can build up inside the follicle, forming a follicular cyst.
  • My brother still has a scar on his neck from removal of a tubercular cyst.
  • The exact action that triggers cyst formation is unknown.
  • The cyst was found to be cancerous, but doctors said that it was small and confined to the kidney.
  • Surgeons removed the kidney last week after doctors found what was described at the time as a cyst.
  • He also said it was a cyst caused by tuberculosis, not a cancerous tumor.
  • Joseph's cyst contracted and then began to grow again.
British Dictionary definitions for cyst


(pathol) any abnormal membranous sac or blisterlike pouch containing fluid or semisolid material
(anatomy) any normal sac or vesicle in the body
a thick-walled protective membrane enclosing a cell, larva, or organism
Word Origin
C18: from New Latin cystis, from Greek kustis pouch, bag, bladder


combining form
indicating a bladder or sac: otocyst
Word Origin
from Greek kustis bladder
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cyst

1713, from Modern Latin cystis (in English as a Latin word from 1540s), from Greek kystis "bladder, pouch."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cyst in Medicine

cyst (sĭst)

  1. An abnormal membranous sac containing a gaseous, liquid, or semisolid substance.

  2. A sac or vesicle in the body.

  3. A small capsulelike sac that encloses certain organisms in their dormant or larval stage.

cyst- pref.
Variant of cysto-.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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cyst in Science
  1. An abnormal membranous sac in the body, containing a gaseous, liquid, or semisolid substance.

  2. A small, capsulelike form of certain organisms that develops in response to adverse or extreme conditions. Under adverse conditions, for instance, dinoflagellates form nonmotile resting cysts that fall to the ocean or lake bottom and can remain there for years before reviving. Certain invertebrates, such as the water bear (phylum Tardigrada), also develop cysts.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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cyst in Culture
cyst [(sist)]

An abnormal saclike structure that develops in the body and is filled with fluid or semisolid material.

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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