synapse

[sin-aps, si-naps] Physiology.
noun
1.
a region where nerve impulses are transmitted and received, encompassing the axon terminal of a neuron that releases neurotransmitters in response to an impulse, an extremely small gap across which the neurotransmitters travel, and the adjacent membrane of an axon, dendrite, or muscle or gland cell with the appropriate receptor molecules for picking up the neurotransmitters.
verb (used without object), synapsed, synapsing.
2.
Cell Biology, Physiology. to form a synapse or a synapsis.

Origin:
1895–1900; back formation from synapses, plural of synapsis

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Collins
World English Dictionary
synapse (ˈsaɪnæps)
 
n
the point at which a nerve impulse is relayed from the terminal portion of an axon to the dendrites of an adjacent neuron

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

synapse
"junction between two nerve cells," 1899, from Gk. synapsis "conjunction," from synaptein "to clasp," from syn- "together" + haptein "to fasten." Related to apse. Introduced by Eng. physiologist Sir Michael Foster (1836-1907) at the suggestion of Eng. classical scholar Arthur Woollgar Verral (1851-1912).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

synapse syn·apse (sĭn'āps', sĭ-nāps')
n.
The junction across which a nerve impulse passes from an axon terminal to a neuron, a muscle cell, or a gland cell.

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
synapse   (sĭn'āps')  Pronunciation Key 


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The small junction across which a nerve impulse passes from one nerve cell to another nerve cell, a muscle cell, or a gland cell. The synapse consists of the synaptic terminal, or presynaptic ending, of a sending neuron, a postsynaptic ending of the receiving cell that contains receptor sites, and the space between them (the synaptic cleft). The synaptic terminal contains neurotransmitters and cell organelles including mitochondria. An electrical impulse in the sending neuron triggers the migration of vesicles containing neurotransmitters toward the membrane of the synaptic terminal. The vesicle membrane fuses with the presynaptic membrane, and the neurotransmitters are released into the synaptic cleft and bind to receptors of the connecting cell where they excite or inhibit electrical impulses. See also neurotransmitter.
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Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
synapse [(sin-aps, si-naps)]

A gap between two nerve cells. Nerve signals are sent across the gap by 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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Example sentences
Each synapse can presumably make sophisticated calculations based on messages
  reaching it from other neurons.
The junction between an axon and a dendrite is called a synapse.
Measures of impulsivity, but these are genes for synapse formation.
The neurons use a network of genes to build a complete scaffolding to support
  the synapse.
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