an inert carbohydrate, (C6H10O5)n, the chief constituent of the cell walls of plants and of wood, cotton, hemp, paper, etc.

Nearby words

  1. cellulipetal,
  2. cellulite,
  3. cellulitis,
  4. celluloid,
  5. cellulolytic,
  6. cellulose acetate,
  7. cellulose nitrate,
  8. cellulose triacetate,
  9. cellulosic,
  10. cellulosity

Origin of cellulose

1745–55; < New Latin cellul(a) live cell (see cellular) + -ose2

Related formscel·lu·los·i·ty [sel-yuh-los-i-tee] /ˌsɛl yəˈlɒs ɪ ti/, nounsem·i·cel·lu·lose, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cellulose

British Dictionary definitions for cellulose



a polysaccharide consisting of long unbranched chains of linked glucose units: the main constituent of plant cell walls and used in making paper, rayon, and film
Derived Formscellulosic, adjective, noun

Word Origin for cellulose

C18: from French cellule cell (see cellule) + -ose ²

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 cellulose



1840, from French cellulose, coined c.1835 by French chemist Anselme Payen (1795-1871) and confirmed 1839, from noun use of adjective cellulose "consisting of cells," 18c., from Latin cellula (see cellulite) + -ose (see -ose (2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for cellulose


[sĕlyə-lōs′, -lōz′]


A complex carbohydrate that is composed of glucose units, forms the main constituent of the cell wall in most plants, and is important in the manufacture of numerous products, such as pharmaceuticals.

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

Science definitions for cellulose



A carbohydrate that is a polymer composed of glucose units and that is the main component of the cell walls of most plants. It is insoluble in water and is used to make paper, cellophane, textiles, explosives, and other products.
See cellulose acetate.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for cellulose



A stringy, fibrous substance that forms the main material in the cell walls of plants. Cellulose is an organic molecule (see also organic molecules), composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

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.