[ fag-uh-sahyt ]

nounCell Biology.
  1. any cell, as a macrophage, that ingests and destroys foreign particles, bacteria, and cell debris.

Origin of phagocyte

First recorded in 1880–85; phago- + -cyte

Other words from phagocyte

  • phag·o·cyt·ic [fag-uh-sit-ik], /ˌfæg əˈsɪt ɪk/, adjective
  • non·phag·o·cyt·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use phagocyte in a sentence

  • Non-phagocytic leukocytosis is probably due more to stimulation of blood-making organs than to chemotaxis.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd

British Dictionary definitions for phagocyte


/ (ˈfæɡəˌsaɪt) /

  1. an amoeboid cell or protozoan that engulfs particles, such as food substances or invading microorganisms

Derived forms of phagocyte

  • phagocytic (ˌfæɡəˈsɪtɪk), adjective

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 phagocyte


[ făgə-sīt′ ]

  1. Any of various organisms or specialized cells that engulf and ingest other cells or particles. In vertebrate animals, phagocytes are white blood cells that break down bacteria and other microorganisms, foreign particles, and cellular debris. These include monocytes, macrophages, and most granulocytes.♦ The process by which phagocytes engulf and break down bacteria or particles is called phagocytosis (făg′ə-sī-tōsĭs). During phagocytosis the cell encloses foreign material and the extracellular fluid surrounding it by an infolding of a part of the cell membrane, which then pinches off to form a vesicle, called a phagosome. The phagosomes fuse with lysosomes, resulting in digestion of the ingested matter. Unicellular protists such as amoebas ingest food by the process of phagocytosis.

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