• synonyms


  1. Physiology. the ingestion of a smaller cell or cell fragment, a microorganism, or foreign particles by means of the local infolding of a cell's membrane and the protrusion of its cytoplasm around the fold until the material has been surrounded and engulfed by closure of the membrane and formation of a vacuole: characteristic of amebas and some types of white blood cells.
Show More

Origin of phagocytosis

First recorded in 1890–95; phagocyte + -osis
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for phagocytosis

Historical Examples of phagocytosis

  • Such a constituent may be responsible for phagocytosis and autolysis in the organs undergoing absorption.

    The Organism as a Whole

    Jacques Loeb

  • It was also seen that recovery from infection in certain diseases was unconnected with phagocytosis.

    Disease and Its Causes

    William Thomas Councilman

  • Hence the names phagocyte, or devouring cell, given to the enveloping white globule, and phagocytosis to the process.

  • There are two conditions, under normal circumstances, in which phagocytosis plays a marked part.

  • Metchnikoff brought forward a rational explanation of immunity with his Cellular or Phagocytosis Theory.

    The Fundamentals of Bacteriology

    Charles Bradfield Morrey

British Dictionary definitions for phagocytosis


  1. the process by which a cell, such as a white blood cell, ingests microorganisms, other cells, and foreign particles
Show More
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

phagocytosis in Medicine


  1. The engulfing and ingestion of bacteria or other foreign bodies by phagocytes.
Show More
Related formsphag′o•cy•totic (-tŏtĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.