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[fol-i-kuh l] /ˈfɒl ɪ kəl/
  1. a small cavity, sac, or gland.
  2. one of the small ovarian sacs containing an immature ovum; Graafian follicle.
Botany. a dry seed vessel, or pod, consisting of a single carpel, splitting at maturity only along the front part of the suture.
Origin of follicle
1640-50; < Latin folliculus small bag, shell, pod. See follis, -cle1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for follicle
  • After hair grows to a particular length, it falls out and the lower part of the follicle is destroyed.
  • The hair follicle consists of two coats-an outer or dermic, and an inner or epidermic.
  • Its full name is follicle stimulating hormone receptor.
  • First, stem cells stored in both the epidermal and follicle reserves raced to the injury site to help regenerate the skin.
  • As hair follicles cycle through growth and rest periods, these stem cells periodically differentiate into new follicle cells.
  • The epithelium of the hair follicle is particularly sensitive to these effects because it divides so rapidly.
  • Each of these muscles is attached to a hair follicle.
  • Folliculitis starts when hair follicles are damaged by friction from clothing, blockage of the follicle, or shaving.
  • Only one follicle becomes dominant, however, during a cycle.
  • The ovaries become less responsive to stimulation by follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone.
British Dictionary definitions for follicle


any small sac or cavity in the body having an excretory, secretory, or protective function: a hair follicle
(botany) a dry fruit, formed from a single carpel, that splits along one side only to release its seeds: occurs in larkspur and columbine
Derived Forms
follicular (fɒˈlɪkjʊlə), folliculate (fɒˈlɪkjʊˌleɪt), folliculated, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin folliculus small bag, from follis pair of bellows, leather money-bag
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 follicle

early 15c., from French follicule or directly from Latin folliculus "little bag," diminutive of follis "bellows, inflated ball," from PIE *bhol-n-, suffixed form of root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell" (see bole).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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follicle in Medicine

follicle fol·li·cle (fŏl'ĭ-kəl)

  1. A small bodily cavity or sac.

  2. A crypt or minute cul-de-sac or lacuna, such as the depression in the skin from which the hair emerges.

  3. An ovarian follicle.

  4. A spherical mass of cells usually containing a cavity.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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follicle in Science
  1. A small, protective sac, gland, or cluster of cells in the body. In mammals, unfertilized eggs develop in follicles located in the ovaries. Hair grows from follicles in the skin.

  2. A dry, dehiscent fruit that develops from a single carpel, has a single chamber, and splits open along only one seam to release its seeds. The pod of the milkweed and the fruit of the magnolia are follicles.

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