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[lahy-guh nd, lig-uh nd] /ˈlaɪ gənd, ˈlɪg ənd/
Biochemistry. a molecule, as an antibody, hormone, or drug, that binds to a receptor.
Chemistry. a molecule, ion, or atom that is bonded to the central metal atom of a coordination compound.
Compare complexing agent.
Origin of ligand
1945-50; < Latin ligandus, gerund of ligāre to bind, tie Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ligand
  • When a receptor binds to its matched protein, called a ligand, it trips a series of cellular signals that turn genes on and off.
  • Another unusual ligand from the electron counting perspective is sulfur dioxide.
  • Different ligand structural arrangements result from the coordination number.
British Dictionary definitions for ligand


/ˈlɪɡənd; ˈlaɪ-/
(chem) an atom, molecule, radical, or ion forming a complex with a central atom
Word Origin
C20: from Latin ligandum, gerund of ligāre to bind
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 ligand

1952, from Latin ligandus, gerundive of ligare "to bind" (see ligament).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ligand in Medicine

ligand li·gand (lī'gənd, lĭg'ənd)
An ion, a molecule, or a molecular group that binds to another chemical entity to form a larger complex.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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