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[limf] /lɪmf/
Anatomy, Physiology. a clear yellowish, slightly alkaline, coagulable fluid, containing white blood cells in a liquid resembling blood plasma, that is derived from the tissues of the body and conveyed to the bloodstream by the lymphatic vessels.
Archaic. the sap of a plant.
Archaic. a stream or spring of clear, pure water.
1620-30; < Latin lympha water (earlier *limpa; see limpid); pseudo-Greek form, by association with nympha < Greek nýmphē nymph


variant of lympho- before a vowel:
lymphoma. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lymph
  • In infancy, scrofulous lymph nodes were found in his neck and attributed to the tuberculosis of his wet nurse.
  • Some of the potentially harmful ink ends up in the body's lymph nodes, part of the immune system.
  • These structures function as the lymph nodes of the eye, trapping unwanted dirt and detritus.
  • Victims become lethargic and may suffer severe swelling of the lymph nodes.
  • The researchers described the virus after identifying it in the swollen lymph nodes of infected patients.
  • She knew the situation was serious once her lymph nodes became swollen.
  • He quickly learned that for several weeks the patient had been suffering from high fevers and swollen lymph nodes.
  • All six of the excised lymph nodes were malignant, a bad sign.
  • The virus sticks tightly to these cells and is carried across the mucosal membrane to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Sometimes biopsies were taken from her lymph nodes or rectum.
British Dictionary definitions for lymph


the almost colourless fluid, containing chiefly white blood cells, that is collected from the tissues of the body and transported in the lymphatic system
Word Origin
C17: from Latin lympha water, from earlier limpa influenced in form by Greek numphē nymph
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 lymph

1725 in physiology sense, "colorless fluid found in the body," from French lymphe, from Latin lympha "water, clear water, a goddess of water," variant of lumpæ "waters," altered by influence of Greek nymphe "goddess of a spring, nymph." The word was used earlier in English in the classical sense "pure water, water" (1620s), also (1670s) with reference to colorless fluids in plants. Also see lymphatic. Lymph node is attested from 1892.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lymph in Medicine

lymph (lĭmf)
A clear, watery, sometimes faintly yellowish fluid derived from body tissues that contains white blood cells and circulates throughout the lymphatic system, returning to the venous bloodstream through the thoracic duct. Lymph acts to remove bacteria and certain proteins from the tissues, transport fat from the small intestine, and supply mature lymphocytes to the blood.

lymph- pref.
Variant of lympho-.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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lymph in Science
The clear fluid flowing through the lymphatic system that serves to bathe and nourish the tissues of the body. It is composed of blood plasma that has leaked out through the capillaries into the tissues.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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lymph in Culture
lymph [(limf)]

A clear, colorless fluid that circulates through the lymphatic system. Lymph fills the tissue spaces of the body.

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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