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mucus

[myoo-kuh s] /ˈmyu kəs/
noun
1.
a viscous, slimy mixture of mucins, water, electrolytes, epithelial cells, and leukocytes that is secreted by glands lining the nasal, esophageal, and other body cavities and serves primarily to protect and lubricate surfaces.
Origin
1655-1665
1655-65; < Latin mūcus snot; akin to Greek myktḗr nose, mýxa slime
Can be confused
mucous, mucus.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for mucus
  • Drinking extra juice and water is supposed to replace fluids in the body lost to fever and to help break up mucus.
  • Actually, if you have a lot of mucus in your head sometimes this air doesn't come out.
  • Coughing helps your body get rid of mucus from your lungs.
  • Helminths could suppress immune disorders by promoting healthy mucus production in the intestine.
  • Tubes inside the lung become chronically inflamed, producing excess mucus.
  • The mucus itself might also being playing a role in the snails survival.
  • The mucus allows it to slip and slide until you cough it out of your lungs.
  • The mucus layer, which coats the stomach and duodenum, forms the first line of defense.
  • When cornered by ants on a leaf, the slug produces a protective sticky mucus.
  • In small or moderate doses, progesterone-only methods work by suppressing some ovulation, and by thickening cervical mucus.
British Dictionary definitions for mucus

mucus

/ˈmjuːkəs/
noun
1.
the slimy protective secretion of the mucous membranes, consisting mainly of mucin
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: nasal secretions; compare mungere to blow the nose; related to Greek muxa mucus, muktēr nose
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 mucus
n.

1660s (replacing Middle English mucilage), from Latin mucus "slime, mold, mucus of the nose, snot," from PIE root *meug- "slippery, slimy," with derivatives referring to wet or slimy substances or conditions (cf. Latin emungere "to sneeze out, blow one's nose," mucere "be moldy or musty," Greek myssesthai "to blow the nose," myxa "mucus," mykes "fungus," Sanskrit muncati "he releases"). Old English had horh, which may be imitative.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mucus in Medicine

mucus mu·cus (myōō'kəs)
n.
The viscous slippery substance that consists chiefly of mucin, water, cells, and inorganic salts and that is secreted as a protective lubricant coating by the cells and glands of the mucous membranes.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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mucus in Science
mucus
  (my'kəs)   
The slimy, viscous substance secreted as a protective lubricant by mucous membranes. Mucus is composed chiefly of large glycoproteins called mucins and inorganic salts suspended in water.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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mucus in Culture

mucus definition


A slippery and somewhat sticky fluid secreted by the glands in mucous membranes. Mucus lubricates and protects the mucous membranes.

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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Encyclopedia Article for mucus

viscous fluid that moistens, lubricates, and protects many of the passages of the digestive and respiratory tracts in the body. Mucus is composed of water, epithelial (surface) cells, dead leukocytes, mucin, and inorganic salts. Mucus is produced by mucous cells, which are frequently clustered into small glands located on the mucous membrane that lines virtually the entire digestive tract. Large numbers of mucous cells occur in the mouth, where mucus is used both to moisten food and to keep the oral membranes moist while they are in direct contact with the air. Mucus in the nose helps to trap dust, bacteria, and other small inhaled particles. The stomach also has large numbers of mucous cells. Gastric mucus forms a layer about one millimetre thick that lines the stomach, protecting the organ from highly acidic gastric juice and preventing the juice from digesting the stomach itself.

Learn more about mucus with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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