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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.
1960-65; neuro- + transmitter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for neurotransmitters
  • Most of those drugs work by slowing the uptake of signal-sending chemicals called neurotransmitters.
  • For one thing, the bike uses neurotransmitters to change gears.
  • One way genes affect behaviour is through the agency of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that carry messages between nerve cells.
  • They require lots of energy to produce their voltage spikes and to release neurotransmitters.
  • When the window is open, chemicals called neurotransmitters flow through easily and memory is registered and stored.
  • What's more, their brains experienced changes in neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus, hippocampus and cerebellum.
  • For example, neurotransmitters interacting with receptors at synapses.
  • Chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters help control whether you're awake or asleep.
  • These drugs target neurotransmitters other than or in addition to serotonin, such as norepinephrine.
  • Abnormalities may occur in neurotransmitters, the chemicals that act as messengers between nerve cells.
British Dictionary definitions for neurotransmitters


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 neurotransmitters



1961, from neuro- + transmitter.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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neurotransmitters 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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neurotransmitters 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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neurotransmitters 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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