• synonyms


[af-er-uh nt]Physiology
See more synonyms for afferent on Thesaurus.com
  1. bringing to or leading toward an organ or part, as a nerve or arteriole (opposed to efferent).
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  1. a nerve carrying a message toward the central nervous system.
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Origin of afferent

1830–40; < Latin afferent- (stem of afferēns, present participle of afferre), equivalent to af- af- + fer- (stem of ferre to carry) + -ent- -ent
Related formsaf·fer·ent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedafferent efferent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for afferent

Historical Examples

  • It is the latter or afferent function with which we are now concerned.

    Second Sight


  • There are two divisions of nerves, the afferent and efferent.

    Special Report on Diseases of Cattle

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • In some cases ligation of the afferent vessels has been successful.

    Manual of Surgery

    Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles

  • The lesions of the arteriosclerotic kidney are due to narrowing and eventual obstruction of the afferent vessels.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension:

    Louis Marshall Warfield

  • Branchial hearts are formed on the afferent vessels of the branchiae.

British Dictionary definitions for afferent


  1. bringing or directing inwards to a part or an organ of the body, esp towards the brain or spinal cordCompare efferent
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Word Origin

C19: from Latin afferre to carry to, from ad- to + ferre to carry
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

afferent in Medicine


  1. Carrying inward to a central organ or section, as nerves that conduct impulses from the periphery of the body to the brain or spinal cord.
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  1. An afferent organ or body part, such as a blood vessel.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

afferent in Science


  1. Carrying sensory information toward a central organ or part, as a nerve that conducts impulses from the periphery of the body to the central nervous system. Compare efferent.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.