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epithelium

[ep-uh-thee-lee-uh m]
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noun, plural ep·i·the·li·ums, ep·i·the·li·a [ep-uh-thee-lee-uh] /ˌɛp əˈθi li ə/. Biology.
  1. any animal tissue that covers a surface, or lines a cavity or the like, and that, in addition, performs any of various secretory, transporting, or regulatory functions.

Origin of epithelium

1740–50; < New Latin < Greek epi- epi- + thēl(ḗ) teat + New Latin -ium -ium
Related formsep·i·the·li·al, adjectivein·ter·ep·i·the·li·al, adjectivenon·ep·i·the·li·al, adjectivesub·ep·i·the·li·al, adjectiveun·ep·i·the·li·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for epithelium

epithelium

noun plural -liums or -lia (-lɪə)
  1. an animal tissue consisting of one or more layers of closely packed cells covering the external and internal surfaces of the body. The cells vary in structure according to their function, which may be protective, secretory, or absorptive
Derived Formsepithelial, adjective

Word Origin

C18: New Latin, from epi- + Greek thēlē nipple
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

Word Origin and History for epithelium

n.

1748, Modern Latin (Frederick Ruysch), from Greek epi "upon" (see epi-) + thele "teat, nipple" (see fecund). Related: Epithelial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

epithelium in Medicine

ciliated epithelium

n.
  1. Epithelium having cilia on the surface not attached to another cell or structure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

epithelium in Science

epithelium

[ĕp′ə-thēlē-əm]
Plural epithelia
  1. The thin, membranous tissue that lines most of the internal and external surfaces of an animal's body. Epithelium is composed of one or more layers of densely packed cells. In vertebrates, it lines the outer layer of the skin (epidermis), the surface of most body cavities, and the lumen of fluid-filled organs, such as the gut or intestine.
Related formsepithelial adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.