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synapse

[ sin-aps, si-naps ]
/ ˈsɪn æps, sɪˈnæps /
Physiology
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noun
a region where nerve impulses are transmitted and received, encompassing the axon terminal of a neuron that releases neurotransmitters in response to an impulse, an extremely small gap across which the neurotransmitters travel, and the adjacent membrane of an axon, dendrite, or muscle or gland cell with the appropriate receptor molecules for picking up the neurotransmitters.
verb (used without object), syn·apsed, syn·aps·ing.
Cell Biology, Physiology. to form a synapse or a synapsis.
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Origin of synapse

1895–1900; back formation from synapses, plural of synapsis

OTHER WORDS FROM synapse

syn·ap·tic [si-nap-tik], /sɪˈnæp tɪk/, syn·ap·ti·cal, adjectivesyn·ap·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use synapse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for synapse

synapse
/ (ˈsaɪnæps) /

noun
the point at which a nerve impulse is relayed from the terminal portion of an axon to the dendrites of an adjacent neuron
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

Medical definitions for synapse

synapse
[ sĭnăps′, sĭ-năps ]

n.
The junction across which a nerve impulse passes from an axon terminal to a neuron, a muscle cell, or a gland cell.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for synapse

synapse
[ sĭnăps′ ]

The small junction across which a nerve impulse passes from one nerve cell to another nerve cell, a muscle cell, or a gland cell. The synapse consists of the synaptic terminal, or presynaptic ending, of a sending neuron, a postsynaptic ending of the receiving cell that contains receptor sites, and the space between them (the synaptic cleft). The synaptic terminal contains neurotransmitters and cell organelles including mitochondria. An electrical impulse in the sending neuron triggers the migration of vesicles containing neurotransmitters toward the membrane of the synaptic terminal. The vesicle membrane fuses with the presynaptic membrane, and the neurotransmitters are released into the synaptic cleft and bind to receptors of the connecting cell where they excite or inhibit electrical impulses. See also neurotransmitter.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for synapse

synapse
[ (sin-aps, si-naps) ]

A gap between two nerve cells. Nerve signals are sent across the gap by neurotransmitters.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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