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[noo r-oh-trans-mit-er, -tranz-, nyoo r-] /ˌnʊər oʊˈtræns mɪt ər, -ˈtrænz-, ˌnyʊər-/
any of several chemical substances, as epinephrine or acetylcholine, that transmit nerve impulses across a synapse to a postsynaptic element, as another nerve, muscle, or gland.
Origin of neurotransmitter
1960-65; neuro- + transmitter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for neurotransmitter
  • These electrical waves are stimulated originally by the arrival at a cell of a chemical called a neurotransmitter.
  • They release neurotransmitter only a small fraction of the time when their parent neuron fires an electrical impulse.
  • Most drugs that treat schizophrenia work by blocking receptors of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
  • Many antidepressants relieve depression by altering levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.
  • The compound is thought to work by reducing the synaptic release of a neurotransmitter called glutamate.
  • Researchers have known for a long time that the neurotransmitter dopamine plays a vital role in the brain.
  • When the command signal arrives, the nerve terminal releases a minute puff of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.
  • These patients have trouble controlling their movements partly because their brains lack the neurotransmitter dopamine.
  • New research shows that the answer may lie in serotonin, a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger produced by nerve cells.
  • Tryptophan is used by the human body to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter.
British Dictionary definitions for neurotransmitter


a chemical by which a nerve cell communicates with another nerve cell or with a muscle
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 neurotransmitter

1961, from neuro- + transmitter.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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neurotransmitter in Medicine

neurotransmitter neu·ro·trans·mit·ter (nur'ō-trāns'mĭt-ər, -trānz'-, nyur'-)
Any of the various chemical substances, such as acetylcholine, that transmit nerve impulses across a synapse.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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neurotransmitter in Science
A chemical substance that is produced and secreted by a neuron and then diffuses across a synapse to cause excitation or inhibition of another neuron. Acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin are examples of neurotransmitters.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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neurotransmitter in Culture

neurotransmitter definition

Any one of a number of chemicals that are used to transmit nerve signals across a synapse. They are sprayed from the end of the “upstream” nerve cell and absorbed by receptors in the “downstream” cell.

Note: Drugs like Prozac and alcohol affect the emission and reception of neurotransmitters.
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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