a short period after a nerve or muscle cell fires during which the cell cannot respond to additional stimulation.
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Origin of refractory period
First recorded in 1875–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for refractory period
a period during which a nerve or muscle is incapable of responding to stimulation, esp immediately following a previous stimulation. In an absolute refractory period there is a total inability to respond; in an effective or relative refractory period there is a response to very large stimuli
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
Medicine definitions for refractory period
The period that follows effective stimulation, during which excitable tissue fails to respond to a stimulus of threshold intensity.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Science definitions for refractory period
The period immediately following the transmission of an impulse in nerve or muscle, in which a neuron or muscle cell regains its ability to transmit another impulse. See more at action potential.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.