• synonyms


[ek-tuh-plaz-uh m]
  1. Biology. the outer portion of the cytoplasm of a cell.Compare endoplasm.
  2. Spiritualism. the supposed emanation from the body of a medium.
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Origin of ectoplasm

First recorded in 1880–85; ecto- + -plasm
Related formsec·to·plas·mic, ec·to·plas·mat·ic [ek-tuh-plaz-mat-ik] /ˌɛk tə plæzˈmæt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ectoplasm

Historical Examples of ectoplasm

  • The ectoplasm may have given out or his condition of mind influenced it.

    Edgar Saltus: The Man

    Marie Saltus

  • Differentiation of ectoplasm and endoplasm distinct or wanting.

  • In some rare cases the ectoplasm secretes a gelatinous mantle.

  • One or more contractile vacuoles may protrude from the ectoplasm.

  • This layer is designated the ectoplasm, as distinguished from the remainder of the cell contents, the endoplasm.

    The Fundamentals of Bacteriology

    Charles Bradfield Morrey

British Dictionary definitions for ectoplasm


  1. cytology the outer layer of cytoplasm in some cells, esp protozoa, which differs from the inner cytoplasm in being a clear gelSee also endoplasm
  2. spiritualism the substance supposedly emanating from the body of a medium during trances
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Derived Formsectoplasmic, adjective
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 ectoplasm


1883, of amoebas, 1901, of spirits, from ecto- + -plasm.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper