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[gang-glee-uh n] /ˈgæŋ gli ən/
noun, plural ganglia
[gang-glee-uh] /ˈgæŋ gli ə/ (Show IPA),
  1. a mass of nerve tissue existing outside the central nervous system.
  2. any of certain masses of gray matter in the brain, as the basal ganglia.
Pathology. a cyst or enlargement in connection with the sheath of a tendon, usually at the wrist.
a center of intellectual or industrial force, activity, etc.
Origin of ganglion
1675-85; < Late Latin: a type of swelling < Greek gánglion a tumor under the skin, on or near a tendon
Related forms
ganglial, gangliar, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ganglia
  • These are loosely grouped into the limbic system and the basal ganglia, although not everyone agrees what is what.
  • The problem is widely believed to begin in the basal ganglia, the part of the brain that controls motor function.
  • These preganglionic fibers terminate in sympathetic ganglia from which the impulses are carried by other neurons.
  • Working with the cerebellum, which is located at the base of the skull, the basal ganglia control movement.
  • Specific areas of the brain, such as the basal ganglia, are more likely to be injured from liver failure.
  • Connections basal ganglia connectivity is illustrated in the figure.
  • For this reason, the basal ganglia are also known as the basal nuclei.
British Dictionary definitions for ganglia


noun (pl) -glia (-ɡlɪə), -glions
an encapsulated collection of nerve-cell bodies, usually located outside the brain and spinal cord
any concentration of energy, activity, or strength
a cystic tumour on a tendon sheath or joint capsule
Derived Forms
ganglial, gangliar, adjective
ganglionic, gangliated, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin: swelling, from Greek: cystic tumour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for ganglia

Latin plural of ganglion.



1680s, from Greek ganglion "tumor," used by Galen for "nerve bundle." Of unknown origin; according to Galen, the proper sense of the word was "anything gathered into a ball."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ganglia in Medicine

ganglion gan·gli·on (gāng'glē-ən)
n. pl. gan·gli·ons or gan·gli·a (-glē-ə)

  1. A group of nerve cells forming a nerve center, especially one located outside the brain or spinal cord. Also called neuroganglion.

  2. A benign tumorlike cyst containing mucopolysaccharide-rich fluid enclosed within fibrous tissue and usually attached to a tendon sheath in the hand, wrist, or foot. Also called myxoid cyst, synovial cyst.

gan'gli·al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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ganglia in Science
Plural ganglia
A compact group of neurons enclosed by connective tissue and having a specific function. In invertebrate animals, pairs of ganglia occur at intervals along the axis of the body, with the forwardmost pair functioning like a brain. In vertebrates, ganglia are usually located outside the brain or spinal cord, where they regulate the functioning of the body's organs and glands as part of the autonomic nervous system.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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