[ kap-uh-ler-ee ]
See synonyms for capillary on
  1. pertaining to or occurring in or as if in a tube of fine bore.

  2. resembling a strand of hair; hairlike.

  1. Physics.

    • pertaining to capillarity.

    • of or relating to the apparent attraction or repulsion between a liquid and a solid, observed in capillarity.

  2. Anatomy. pertaining to a capillary or capillaries.

noun,plural cap·il·lar·ies.
  1. Anatomy. one of the minute blood vessels between the terminations of the arteries and the beginnings of the veins.

  2. 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

Other words from capillary

  • in·ter·cap·il·lar·y, adjective
  • non·cap·il·lar·y, adjective, noun, plural non·cap·il·lar·ies.

Words Nearby capillary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use capillary in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for capillary


/ (kəˈpɪlərɪ) /

  1. resembling a hair; slender

  2. (of tubes) having a fine bore

  1. anatomy of or relating to any of the delicate thin-walled blood vessels that form an interconnecting network between the arterioles and the venules

  2. physics of or relating to capillarity

nounplural -laries
  1. anatomy any of the capillary blood vessels

  2. a fine hole or narrow passage in any substance

Origin of 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

Scientific definitions for capillary


[ kăpə-lĕr′ē ]

  1. 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.

Cultural definitions for capillary


[ (kap-uh-ler-ee) ]

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

Notes for capillary

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.