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synapse

[sin-aps, si-naps]Physiology
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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.
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verb (used without object), syn·apsed, syn·aps·ing.
  1. Cell Biology, Physiology. to form a synapse or a synapsis.
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Origin of synapse

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

synapsis

[si-nap-sis]
noun, plural syn·ap·ses [si-nap-seez] /sɪˈnæp siz/.
  1. Also called syndesis. Cell Biology. the pairing of homologous chromosomes, one from each parent, during early meiosis.
  2. Physiology. synapse.
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Origin of synapsis

1645–55; < New Latin < Greek sýnapsis junction, equivalent to synap- (stem of synáptein to make contact, equivalent to syn- syn- + (h)áptein to touch) + -sis -sis
Related formssyn·ap·tic [si-nap-tik] /sɪˈnæp tɪk/, syn·ap·ti·cal, adjectivesyn·ap·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for synapses

synapse

noun
  1. the point at which a nerve impulse is relayed from the terminal portion of an axon to the dendrites of an adjacent neuron
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synapsis

noun plural -ses (-siːz)
  1. cytology the association in pairs of homologous chromosomes at the start of meiosis
  2. another word for synapse
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Word Origin

C19: from New Latin, from Greek sunapsis junction, from sunaptein to join together, from syn- + haptein to connect
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 synapses

synapse

n.

"junction between two nerve cells," 1899, from Greek synapsis "conjunction," from synaptein "to clasp," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + haptein "to fasten." Related to apse. Introduced by English physiologist Sir Michael Foster (1836-1907) at the suggestion of English classical scholar Arthur Woollgar Verral (1851-1912).

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synapsis

n.

plural synapses, 1895 in biology, Modern Latin, from Greek synapsis "connection, junction" (see synapse).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

synapses in Medicine

synapse

(sĭnăps′, sĭ-năps)
n.
  1. The junction across which a nerve impulse passes from an axon terminal to a neuron, a muscle cell, or a gland cell.
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synapsis

(sĭ-năpsĭs)
n. pl. syn•ap•ses (-sēz)
  1. The side-by-side association of homologous paternal and maternal chromosomes during early meiotic prophase.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

synapses in Science

synapse

[sĭnăps′]
  1. 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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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

synapses in Culture

synapse

[(sin-aps, si-naps)]

A gap between two nerve cells. Nerve signals are sent across the gap by neurotransmitters.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.