capillary

[ kap-uh-ler-ee ]
/ ˈkæp əˌlɛr i /

adjective

pertaining to or occurring in or as if in a tube of fine bore.
resembling a strand of hair; hairlike.
Physics.
  1. pertaining to capillarity.
  2. of or relating to the apparent attraction or repulsion between a liquid and a solid, observed in capillarity.
Anatomy. pertaining to a capillary or capillaries.

noun, plural cap·il·lar·ies.

Anatomy. one of the minute blood vessels between the terminations of the arteries and the beginnings of the veins.
Also called capillary tube. a tube with a small bore.

Origin of capillary

1570–80; capill(ar) (obsolete, < Latin capillāris pertaining to hair, equivalent to capill(us) hair + -āris -ar1) + -ary

Related forms

in·ter·cap·il·lar·y, adjectivenon·cap·il·lar·y, adjective, noun, plural non·cap·il·lar·ies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for capillaries

British Dictionary definitions for capillaries

capillary

/ (kəˈpɪlərɪ) /

adjective

resembling a hair; slender
(of tubes) having a fine bore
anatomy of or relating to any of the delicate thin-walled blood vessels that form an interconnecting network between the arterioles and the venules
physics of or relating to capillarity

noun plural -laries

anatomy any of the capillary blood vessels
a fine hole or narrow passage in any substance

Word Origin for capillary

C17: from Latin capillāris, from capillus hair
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

Medicine definitions for capillaries

capillary

[ kăpə-lĕr′ē ]

adj.

Of or relating to the capillaries.
Relating to or resembling a hair; fine and slender.

n.

Blood capillary.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for capillaries

capillary

[ kăpə-lĕr′ē ]

Any of the tiny blood vessels that connect the smallest arteries (arterioles) to the smallest veins (venules). Capillaries form a network throughout the body for the exchange of oxygen, metabolic waste products, and carbon dioxide between blood and tissue cells.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for capillaries (1 of 2)

capillaries

[ (kap-uh-ler-eez) ]

The tiny blood vessels throughout the body that connect arteries and veins. Capillaries form an intricate network around body tissues in order to distribute oxygen and nutrients to the cells and remove waste substances. (See circulatory system.)

Culture definitions for capillaries (2 of 2)

capillary

[ (kap-uh-ler-ee) ]

A thin tube, such as a blood vessel or a straw, through which fluids flow.

Note

The interaction between the fluid and the vessel walls produces a force that can lift the fluid up into the tube, a phenomenon known as capillary action.
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.