• synonyms


See more synonyms for membrane on Thesaurus.com
  1. Anatomy. a thin, pliable sheet or layer of animal or vegetable tissue, serving to line an organ, connect parts, etc.
  2. Cell Biology. the thin, limiting covering of a cell or cell part.
Show More

Origin of membrane

1375–1425; late Middle English; Middle English membraan parchment < Latin membrāna. See member, -an
Related formsmem·brane·less, adjectivein·ter·mem·brane, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for membrane

sheath, sheet, lamina, leaf, film, placenta, mucosa

Examples from the Web for membrane

Historical Examples of membrane

  • The membrane breaks off, the fever declines, and the child begins to recover.

    Rural Hygiene

    Henry N. Ogden

  • Membranous or eous: composed of membrane or skin-like tissue.

  • Platelet: a little plate or sclerite of chitin in a membrane.

  • Bones are covered with a tough skin, or membrane (periosteum).

    A Handbook of Health

    Woods Hutchinson

  • The membrane lining the abdominal cavity and enfolding its organs.

    A Handbook of Health

    Woods Hutchinson

British Dictionary definitions for membrane


  1. any thin pliable sheet of material
  2. a pliable sheetlike usually fibrous tissue that covers, lines, or connects plant and animal organs or cells
  3. biology a double layer of lipid, containing some proteins, that surrounds biological cells and some of their internal structures
  4. physics a two-dimensional entity postulated as a fundamental constituent of matter in superstring theories of particle physics
  5. a skin of parchment forming part of a roll
Show More

Word Origin for membrane

C16: from Latin membrāna skin covering a part of the body, from membrum member
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 membrane


early 15c., "thin layer of skin or tissue," a term in anatomy, from Latin membrana "a skin, membrane; parchment (skin prepared for writing)," from membrum "limb, member of the body" (see member). The etymological sense is "that which covers the members of the body."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

membrane in Medicine


  1. A thin pliable layer of tissue covering surfaces, enveloping a part, lining a cavity, or separating or connecting structures or organs.
  2. Cell membrane.
  3. A thin sheet of natural or synthetic material that is permeable to substances in solution.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

membrane in Science


  1. A thin, flexible layer of tissue that covers, lines, separates, or connects cells or parts of an organism. Membranes are usually made of layers of phospholipids containing suspended protein molecules and are permeable to water and fat-soluble substances.
  2. See cell membrane.
  3. Chemistry A thin sheet of natural or synthetic material that is permeable to substances in solution.
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.