[ limf ]
/ lɪmf /
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Anatomy, Physiology. a clear yellowish, slightly alkaline, coagulable fluid, containing white blood cells in a liquid resembling blood plasma, that is derived from the tissues of the body and conveyed to the bloodstream by the lymphatic vessels.
Archaic. the sap of a plant.
Archaic. a stream or spring of clear, pure water.
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True or false? British English and American English are only different when it comes to slang words.

Origin of lymph

1620–30; <Latin lympha water (earlier *limpa;see limpid); pseudo-Greek form, by association with nympha<Greek nýmphēnymph

Other definitions for lymph (2 of 2)


variant of lympho- before a vowel: lymphoma.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does lymph- mean?

Lymph- is a combining form used like a prefix indicating lymph, an important liquid in the body that contains white blood cells and is conveyed to the bloodstream through lymphatic vessels. Lymph- is used in many medical terms, especially in anatomy and pathology.

Lymph- comes from the Latin lympha, meaning “water.” This Latin root has been connected to the Greek word nýmphē, source of nymph in English. Discover more at our entry for nymph.

Lymph- is a variant of lympho-, which loses its -o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use lympho- article.

Closely related to lymph- and lympho- is lymphangi-, a combining form meaning “lymph vessel” and connected to the combining form angio-.

Examples of lymph-

Lymphoma is “a tumor arising from any of the cellular elements of lymph nodes.”

The first part of the word, lymph- indicates “lymph.” The suffix -oma may also look familiar; it is used to name tumors. Lymphoma literally translates to “lymph tumors.”

The word lymphoma was formed in New Latin and uses the equivalent forms lymph- and -oma in the language.

What are some words that use the combining form lymph-?

What are some other forms that lymph- may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form -agogue is used in medical terms to denote substances that cause the secretion of a fluid. With this in mind, what does an agent known as a lymphagogue cause, generally speaking?

How to use lymph in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lymph

/ (lɪmf) /

the almost colourless fluid, containing chiefly white blood cells, that is collected from the tissues of the body and transported in the lymphatic system

Word Origin for lymph

C17: from Latin lympha water, from earlier limpa influenced in form by Greek numphē nymph
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

Scientific definitions for lymph

[ lĭmf ]

The clear fluid flowing through the lymphatic system that serves to bathe and nourish the tissues of the body. It is composed of blood plasma that has leaked out through the capillaries into the tissues.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for lymph

[ (limf) ]

A clear, colorless fluid that circulates through the lymphatic system. Lymph fills the tissue spaces of the body.

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.