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capillary

[kap-uh-ler-ee] /ˈkæp əˌlɛr i/
adjective
1.
pertaining to or occurring in or as if in a tube of fine bore.
2.
resembling a strand of hair; hairlike.
3.
Physics.
  1. pertaining to capillarity.
  2. of or relating to the apparent attraction or repulsion between a liquid and a solid, observed in capillarity.
4.
Anatomy. pertaining to a capillary or capillaries.
noun, plural capillaries.
5.
Anatomy. one of the minute blood vessels between the terminations of the arteries and the beginnings of the veins.
6.
Also called capillary tube. a tube with a small bore.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; capill(ar) (obsolete, < Latin capillāris pertaining to hair, equivalent to capill(us) hair + -āris -ar1) + -ary
Related forms
intercapillary, adjective
noncapillary, adjective, noun, plural noncapillaries.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for capillaries
  • The doctor may find changes in capillaries that are characteristic of scleroderma or mixed connective tissue disease.
  • It gets its name because it attacks the blood capillaries that feed a tumour.
  • She drills through the epidermis, then through a thin layer of fat, then into the network of blood-filled micro capillaries.
  • In addition, each cell is in contact with a number of capillaries.
  • The resulting inflammation can cause capillaries to leak, especially in the brain.
  • Blood circulates around the alveoli through capillaries.
  • At that size, the bubbles can fit into the tiny capillaries of the bloodstream.
  • Where the capillaries and alveoli meet, oxygen crosses into the bloodstream.
  • When a red blood cell reaches any tissue in need of oxygen it releases nitric oxide in order to dilate the capillaries.
  • These muscles are loaded with capillaries and energy-producing mitochondria.
British Dictionary definitions for capillaries

capillary

/kəˈpɪlərɪ/
adjective
1.
resembling a hair; slender
2.
(of tubes) having a fine bore
3.
(anatomy) of or relating to any of the delicate thin-walled blood vessels that form an interconnecting network between the arterioles and the venules
4.
(physics) of or relating to capillarity
noun (pl) -laries
5.
(anatomy) any of the capillary blood vessels
6.
a fine hole or narrow passage in any substance
Word Origin
C17: from Latin capillāris, from capillus hair
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 capillaries

capillary

adj.

1650s, "of or pertaining to the hair," from Latin capillaris "of hair," from capillus "hair" (of the head); perhaps related to caput "head" (but de Vaan finds this "difficult on the formal side" and "far from compelling, since capillus is a diminutive, and would mean 'little head', which hardly amounts to 'hair'"). Borrowed earlier as capillar (14c.). Meaning "taking place in capillary vessels" is from 1809. Capillary attraction attested from 1813. As a noun, "capillary blood vessel," from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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capillaries in Medicine

capillary cap·il·lary (kāp'ə-lěr'ē)
adj.

  1. Of or relating to the capillaries.

  2. Relating to or resembling a hair; fine and slender.

n.
Blood capillary.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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capillaries in Science
capillary
  (kāp'ə-lěr'ē)   
Any of the tiny blood vessels that connect the smallest arteries (arterioles) to the smallest veins (venules). Capillaries form a network throughout the body for the exchange of oxygen, metabolic waste products, and carbon dioxide between blood and tissue cells.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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capillaries in Culture
capillaries [(kap-uh-ler-eez)]

The tiny blood vessels throughout the body that connect arteries and veins. Capillaries form an intricate network around body tissues in order to distribute oxygen and nutrients to the cells and remove waste substances. (See circulatory system.)

capillary [(kap-uh-ler-ee)]

A thin tube, such as a blood vessel or a straw, through which fluids flow.

Note: The interaction between the fluid and the vessel walls produces a force that can lift the fluid up into the tube, a phenomenon known as capillary action.
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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