mucus

[myoo-kuhs]
noun
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:
1655–65; < Latin mūcus snot; akin to Greek myktḗr nose, mýxa slime

mucous, mucus.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
mucus (ˈmjuːkəs)
 
n
the slimy protective secretion of the mucous membranes, consisting mainly of mucin
 

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

mucus
1660s, from L. mucus "slime, mold, snot," from PIE base *(s)meug- "to slip, slippery, slime" (cf. L. emungere "to sneeze out, blow one's nose," mucere "be moldy or musty," Gk. myssesthai "to blow the nose," myxa "mucus," mykes "fungus," Skt. muncati "he releases"). Replaced O.E. horh, which may be imitative.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
mucus   (my'kəs)  Pronunciation Key 
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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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 Britannica
Encyclopedia

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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Example sentences
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.
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