Pathology. a closed, bladderlike sac formed in animal tissues, containing fluid or semifluid matter.
a bladder, sac, or vesicle.
Botany, Mycology.
  1. a sporelike cell with a resistant, protective wall.
  2. a cell or cavity enclosing reproductive bodies.
  1. a sac, usually spherical, surrounding an animal that has passed into a dormant condition.
  2. such a sac plus the contained animal.
  3. a capsule or resistant covering.

Origin of cyst

1705–15; < New Latin cystis < Greek kýstis bag, pouch, the bladder; akin to kŷma cyma


variant of cysto-, before a vowel: cystectomy.


variant of cysto-, as final element in a compound word: statocyst. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cyst

sac, sore, blister, vesicle, bag, injury, pouch, wen, bleb

Examples from the Web for cyst

Contemporary Examples of cyst

  • In “The Incalculable Life Gesture,” an elementary school principal develops a cyst in his throat that may or may not be malignant.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Quick Reads for the Asylum

    Taylor Antrim

    August 13, 2009

Historical Examples of cyst

British Dictionary definitions for cyst



pathol any abnormal membranous sac or blisterlike pouch containing fluid or semisolid material
anatomy any normal sac or vesicle in the body
a thick-walled protective membrane enclosing a cell, larva, or organism

Word Origin for cyst

C18: from New Latin cystis, from Greek kustis pouch, bag, bladder


n combining form

indicating a bladder or sacotocyst

Word Origin for -cyst

from Greek kustis bladder
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 cyst

1713, from Modern Latin cystis (in English as a Latin word from 1540s), from Greek kystis "bladder, pouch."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cyst in Medicine




An abnormal membranous sac containing a gaseous, liquid, or semisolid substance.
A sac or vesicle in the body.
A small capsulelike sac that encloses certain organisms in their dormant or larval stage.



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

cyst in Science



An abnormal membranous sac in the body, containing a gaseous, liquid, or semisolid substance.
A small, capsulelike form of certain organisms that develops in response to adverse or extreme conditions. Under adverse conditions, for instance, dinoflagellates form nonmotile resting cysts that fall to the ocean or lake bottom and can remain there for years before reviving. Certain invertebrates, such as the water bear (phylum Tardigrada), also develop cysts.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

cyst in Culture



An abnormal saclike structure that develops in the body and is filled with fluid or semisolid material.

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.