• synonyms


  1. Botany. the fundamental tissue of plants, composed of thin-walled cells able to divide.
  2. Anatomy, Zoology. the specific tissue of an animal organ as distinguished from its connective or supporting tissue.
  3. Zoology. a type of soft, spongy connective tissue of certain invertebrates, as the flatworms.
  4. Pathology. the functional tissue of a morbid growth.
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Origin of parenchyma

1645–55; < New Latin < Greek parénchyma literally, something poured in beside, equivalent to par- par- + énchyma infusion; see en-2, chyme
Related formspa·ren·chy·mal, par·en·chym·a·tous [par-uh ng-kim-uh-tuh s] /ˌpær əŋˈkɪm ə təs/, adjectivein·ter·pa·ren·chy·mal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for parenchyma

Historical Examples of parenchyma

British Dictionary definitions for parenchyma


  1. unspecialized plant tissue consisting of simple thin-walled cells with intervening air spaces: constitutes the greater part of fruits, stems, roots, etc
  2. animal tissue that constitutes the essential or specialized part of an organ as distinct from the blood vessels, connective tissue, etc, associated with it
  3. loosely-packed tissue filling the spaces between the organs in lower animals such as flatworms
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Derived Formsparenchymatous (ˌpærɛŋˈkɪmətəs), adjective

Word Origin for parenchyma

C17: via New Latin from Greek parenkhuma something poured in beside, from para- 1 + enkhuma infusion
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 parenchyma


1650s, Modern Latin, from Greek parenkhyma "something poured in beside," from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + enkhyma "infusion," from en- "in" + khein "to pour" (see found (v.2)). In ancient physiology, the stuff that was supposed to make up the liver, lungs, etc., which was believed to be formed from blood strained through the capillaries and congealed.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

parenchyma in Medicine


  1. The distinguishing cells of a gland or organ, contained in and supported by the stroma.
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Related formspa•renchy•mal null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

parenchyma in Science


  1. The basic tissue of plants, consisting of cells with thin cellulose walls. The cortex and pith of the stem, the internal layers of leaves, and the soft parts of fruits are made of parenchyma. In contrast to sclerenchyma cells, parenchyma cells remain alive at maturity. They perform various functions, such as water storage, replacement of damaged tissue, and physical support of plant structures. Chloroplasts, the organelles in which photosynthesis takes place, are found in parenchyma cells. Compare collenchyma sclerenchyma.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.