gray matter

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noun
  1. Anatomy. nerve tissue, especially of the brain and spinal cord, that contains fibers and nerve cell bodies and is dark reddish-gray.: Compare white matter.

  2. Informal. brains or intellect.

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Origin of gray matter

1
First recorded in 1830–40

Words Nearby gray matter

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use gray matter in a sentence

Scientific definitions for gray matter

gray matter

  1. The brownish-gray tissue of the vertebrate brain and spinal cord, made up chiefly of the cell bodies and dendrites of neurons. Compare white matter.

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with gray matter

gray matter

Brains, intellect, as in If you'd only use your gray matter, you'd see the answer in a minute. This expression refers to actual brain tissue that is gray in color. Agatha Christie's fictional detective, Hercule Poirot, constantly alludes to using the little gray cells for solving a crime. [Late 1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.