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[gang-glee-uh n] /ˈgæŋ gli ən/
noun, plural ganglia
[gang-glee-uh] /ˈgæŋ gli ə/ (Show IPA),
  1. a mass of nerve tissue existing outside the central nervous system.
  2. any of certain masses of gray matter in the brain, as the basal ganglia.
Pathology. a cyst or enlargement in connection with the sheath of a tendon, usually at the wrist.
a center of intellectual or industrial force, activity, etc.
Origin of ganglion
1675-85; < Late Latin: a type of swelling < Greek gánglion a tumor under the skin, on or near a tendon
Related forms
ganglial, gangliar, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ganglia
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There must therefore be an isolated ganglion in front and two ganglia, close to each other, about two-fifths of an inch back.

    More Hunting Wasps J. Henri Fabre
  • Above it lies the heart, and beneath it the nervous cord or chain of ganglia.

    The Flea Harold Russell
  • It consists of four or five swellings, or ganglia, strung along, one beyond another.

    Evolution Joseph Le Conte
  • There are, in the ventral chain, four ganglia in the thorax and four in the abdomen.

  • Is there anatomical evidence that the ganglia of origin of the oculomotor and trochlear nerves represent many ganglia?

    The Origin of Vertebrates Walter Holbrook Gaskell
  • In this cylinder I recognize eleven ganglia, one more than in the Cetonia.

    More Hunting Wasps J. Henri Fabre
  • Ventral diaphragm: is a fine membrane covering the central nerve cords and ganglia: also called ventral heart.

  • But the mechanism which set them moving was the nervous system, with its ganglia working the separate legs of each segment.

  • There are two ganglia on each side, a lateral pair somewhat smaller than the more ventral.

British Dictionary definitions for ganglia


noun (pl) -glia (-ɡlɪə), -glions
an encapsulated collection of nerve-cell bodies, usually located outside the brain and spinal cord
any concentration of energy, activity, or strength
a cystic tumour on a tendon sheath or joint capsule
Derived Forms
ganglial, gangliar, adjective
ganglionic, gangliated, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin: swelling, from Greek: cystic tumour
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 ganglia

Latin plural of ganglion.



1680s, from Greek ganglion "tumor," used by Galen for "nerve bundle." Of unknown origin; according to Galen, the proper sense of the word was "anything gathered into a ball."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ganglia in Medicine

ganglion gan·gli·on (gāng'glē-ən)
n. pl. gan·gli·ons or gan·gli·a (-glē-ə)

  1. A group of nerve cells forming a nerve center, especially one located outside the brain or spinal cord. Also called neuroganglion.

  2. A benign tumorlike cyst containing mucopolysaccharide-rich fluid enclosed within fibrous tissue and usually attached to a tendon sheath in the hand, wrist, or foot. Also called myxoid cyst, synovial cyst.

gan'gli·al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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ganglia in Science
Plural ganglia
A compact group of neurons enclosed by connective tissue and having a specific function. In invertebrate animals, pairs of ganglia occur at intervals along the axis of the body, with the forwardmost pair functioning like a brain. In vertebrates, ganglia are usually located outside the brain or spinal cord, where they regulate the functioning of the body's organs and glands as part of the autonomic nervous system.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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