sympathetic nervous system n.
The part of the autonomic nervous system originating in the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spinal cord that in general inhibits or opposes the physiological effects of the parasympathetic nervous system, as in tending to reduce digestive secretions or speed up the heart.
|sympathetic nervous system (sĭm'pə-thět'ĭk) Pronunciation Key
The part of the autonomic nervous system that tends to act in opposition to the parasympathetic nervous system, as by speeding up the heartbeat and causing contraction of the blood vessels. It regulates the function of the sweat glands and stimulates the secretion of glucose in the liver. The sympathetic nervous system is activated especially under conditions of stress. Compare parasympathetic nervous system.