[gang-glee-uh n]

noun, plural gan·gli·a [gang-glee-uh] /ˈgæŋ gli ə/, gan·gli·ons.

  1. a mass of nerve tissue existing outside the central nervous system.
  2. any of certain masses of gray matter in the brain, as the basal ganglia.
Pathology. a cyst or enlargement in connection with the sheath of a tendon, usually at the wrist.
a center of intellectual or industrial force, activity, etc.

Origin of ganglion

1675–85; < Late Latin: a type of swelling < Greek gánglion a tumor under the skin, on or near a tendon
Related formsgan·gli·al, gan·gli·ar, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ganglia

Contemporary Examples of ganglia

Historical Examples of ganglia

  • Ventral chain: refers to the series of ganglia of the nervous system.

  • Of what use are the ganglia (gray matter) in the spinal cord?

    A Handbook of Health

    Woods Hutchinson

  • Above it lies the heart, and beneath it the nervous cord or chain of ganglia.

    The Flea

    Harold Russell

  • In the ancestral insect we may suppose that there was a pair of ganglia in each segment.

    The Flea

    Harold Russell

  • There are, in the ventral chain, four ganglia in the thorax and four in the abdomen.

British Dictionary definitions for ganglia


noun plural -glia (-ɡlɪə) or -glions

an encapsulated collection of nerve-cell bodies, usually located outside the brain and spinal cord
any concentration of energy, activity, or strength
a cystic tumour on a tendon sheath or joint capsule
Derived Formsganglial or gangliar, adjectiveganglionic or gangliated, adjective

Word Origin for ganglion

C17: from Late Latin: swelling, from Greek: cystic tumour
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 ganglia

Latin plural of ganglion.



1680s, from Greek ganglion "tumor," used by Galen for "nerve bundle." Of unknown origin; according to Galen, the proper sense of the word was "anything gathered into a ball."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ganglia in Medicine



n. pl. gan•gli•ons

A group of nerve cells forming a nerve center, especially one located outside the brain or spinal cord.neuroganglion
A benign tumorlike cyst containing mucopolysaccharide-rich fluid enclosed within fibrous tissue and usually attached to a tendon sheath in the hand, wrist, or foot.myxoid cyst synovial cyst
Related formsgangli•al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

ganglia in Science



Plural ganglia

A compact group of neurons enclosed by connective tissue and having a specific function. In invertebrate animals, pairs of ganglia occur at intervals along the axis of the body, with the forwardmost pair functioning like a brain. In vertebrates, ganglia are usually located outside the brain or spinal cord, where they regulate the functioning of the body's organs and glands as part of the autonomic nervous system.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.