[ puh-reng-kuh-muh ]

  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.

  1. Zoology. a type of soft, spongy connective tissue of certain invertebrates, as the flatworms.

  2. Pathology. the functional tissue of a morbid growth.

Origin of parenchyma

1645–55; <New Latin <Greek parénchyma literally, something poured in beside, equivalent to par-par- + énchyma infusion; see en-2, chyme

Other words from parenchyma

  • pa·ren·chy·mal, par·en·chym·a·tous [par-uhng-kim-uh-tuhs], /ˌpær əŋˈkɪm ə təs/, adjective
  • in·ter·pa·ren·chy·mal, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

British Dictionary definitions for parenchyma


/ (pəˈrɛŋkɪmə) /

  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

  1. loosely-packed tissue filling the spaces between the organs in lower animals such as flatworms

Origin of parenchyma

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

Derived forms of parenchyma

  • parenchymatous (ˌpærɛŋˈkɪmətəs), 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 parenchyma


[ pə-rĕngkə-mə ]

  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.

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