[ kawr-teks ]
See synonyms for cortex on
noun,plural cor·ti·ces [kawr-tuh-seez]. /ˈkɔr təˌsiz/.
  1. Anatomy, Zoology.

    • the outer region of an organ or structure, as the outer portion of the kidney.

  2. Botany.

    • the portion of a stem between the epidermis and the vascular tissue; bark.

    • any outer layer, as rind.

  1. Mycology. the surface tissue layer of a fungus or lichen, composed of massed hyphal cells.

Origin of cortex

1650–60; <Latin: bark, rind, shell, husk

Other words from cortex

  • sub·cor·tex, noun, plural sub·cor·ti·ces.

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

How to use cortex in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cortex


/ (ˈkɔːtɛks) /

nounplural -tices (-tɪˌsiːz)
  1. anatomy the outer layer of any organ or part, such as the grey matter in the brain that covers the cerebrum (cerebral cortex) or the outer part of the kidney (renal cortex)

  2. botany

    • the unspecialized tissue in plant stems and roots between the vascular bundles and the epidermis

    • the outer layer of a part such as the bark of a stem

Origin of cortex

C17: from Latin: bark, outer layer

Derived forms of cortex

  • cortical (ˈkɔːtɪkəl), adjective
  • cortically, adverb

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 cortex


[ kôrtĕks′ ]

  1. The outer layer of an organ or body part, such as the cerebrum or the adrenal glands.

  2. The region of tissue lying between the epidermis (the outermost layer) and the vascular tissue in the roots and stems of plants. It is composed of collenchyma, parenchyma, and sclerenchyma. In roots the cortex transfers water and minerals from the epidermis to the vascular tissue, which distributes them to other parts of the plant. The cortex also provides structural support and stores food manufactured in the leaves. See illustration at xylem.

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