[ ep-uh-thee-lee-uhm ]
/ ˌɛp əˈθi li əm /
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noun, plural ep·i·the·li·ums, ep·i·the·li·a [ep-uh-thee-lee-uh]. /ˌɛp əˈθi li ə/. Biology.

any animal tissue that covers a surface, or lines a cavity or the like, and that, in addition, performs any of various secretory, transporting, or regulatory functions.



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Origin of epithelium

1740–50; <New Latin <Greek epi-epi- + thēl() teat + New Latin -ium-ium


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for epithelium

British Dictionary definitions for epithelium

/ (ˌɛpɪˈθiːlɪəm) /

noun plural -liums or -lia (-lɪə)

an animal tissue consisting of one or more layers of closely packed cells covering the external and internal surfaces of the body. The cells vary in structure according to their function, which may be protective, secretory, or absorptive

Derived forms of epithelium

epithelial, adjective

Word Origin for epithelium

C18: New Latin, from epi- + Greek thēlē nipple
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

Medical definitions for epithelium

[ ĕp′ə-thēlē-əm ]

n. pl. ep•i•the•li•a (-lē-ə)

Membranous tissue composed of one or more layers of cells separated by very little intercellular substance and forming the covering of most internal and external surfaces of the body and its organs.

Other words from epithelium

ep′i•theli•al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for epithelium

[ ĕp′ə-thēlē-əm ]

Plural epithelia

The thin, membranous tissue that lines most of the internal and external surfaces of an animal's body. Epithelium is composed of one or more layers of densely packed cells. In vertebrates, it lines the outer layer of the skin (epidermis), the surface of most body cavities, and the lumen of fluid-filled organs, such as the gut or intestine.

Other words from epithelium

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