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[puh-reng-kuh-muh] /pəˈrɛŋ kə mə/
Botany. the fundamental tissue of plants, composed of thin-walled cells able to divide.
Anatomy, Zoology. the specific tissue of an animal organ as distinguished from its connective or supporting tissue.
Zoology. a type of soft, spongy connective tissue of certain invertebrates, as the flatworms.
Pathology. the functional tissue of a morbid growth.
Origin of parenchyma
1645-55; < New Latin < Greek parénchyma literally, something poured in beside, equivalent to par- par- + énchyma infusion; see en-2, chyme
Related forms
parenchymal, parenchymatous
[par-uh ng-kim-uh-tuh s] /ˌpær əŋˈkɪm ə təs/ (Show IPA),
interparenchymal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for parenchymal


unspecialized plant tissue consisting of simple thin-walled cells with intervening air spaces: constitutes the greater part of fruits, stems, roots, etc
animal tissue that constitutes the essential or specialized part of an organ as distinct from the blood vessels, connective tissue, etc, associated with it
loosely-packed tissue filling the spaces between the organs in lower animals such as flatworms
Derived Forms
parenchymatous (ˌpærɛŋˈkɪmətəs) adjective
Word Origin
C17: via New Latin from Greek parenkhuma something poured in beside, from para-1 + enkhuma infusion
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 parenchymal



1650s, Modern Latin, from Greek parenkhyma "something poured in beside," from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + enkhyma "infusion," from en- "in" + khein "to pour" (see found (v.2)). In ancient physiology, the stuff that was supposed to make up the liver, lungs, etc., which was believed to be formed from blood strained through the capillaries and congealed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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parenchymal in Medicine

parenchyma pa·ren·chy·ma (pə-rěng'kə-mə)
The distinguishing cells of a gland or organ, contained in and supported by the stroma.

pa·ren'chy·mal or par'en·chym'a·tous (pār'ěn-kĭm'ə-təs) adj.
par'en·chym'a·tous·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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parenchymal in Science
The basic tissue of plants, consisting of cells with thin cellulose walls. The cortex and pith of the stem, the internal layers of leaves, and the soft parts of fruits are made of parenchyma. In contrast to sclerenchyma cells, parenchyma cells remain alive at maturity. They perform various functions, such as water storage, replacement of damaged tissue, and physical support of plant structures. Chloroplasts, the organelles in which photosynthesis takes place, are found in parenchyma cells. Compare collenchyma, sclerenchyma.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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