- a ductless, butterfly-shaped gland lying at the base of the neck, formed mostly of lymphatic tissue and aiding in the production of T cells of the immune system: after puberty, the lymphatic tissue gradually degenerates.
Origin of thymus
1685–95; < New Latin < Greek thýmos warty excrescence, thymus
Also called thymus gland.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a glandular organ of vertebrates, consisting in man of two lobes situated below the thyroid. In early life it produces lymphocytes and is thought to influence certain immunological responses. It atrophies with age and is almost nonexistent in the adult
C17: from New Latin, from Greek thumos sweetbread
Word Origin and History for thymus gland
gland near the base of the neck, 1690s, Modern Latin, from Greek thymos "a warty excrescence," used of the gland by Galen, literally "thyme," probably so called because of a fancied resemblance to a bunch of thyme (see thyme).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A lymphoid organ that is located in the superior mediastinum and lower part of the neck and is necessary in early life for the normal development of immunological function.
- The thymus of a calf or lamb.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- An organ of the lymphatic system located behind the upper sternum (breastbone). T cells (T lymphocytes) develop and mature in the thymus before entering the circulation. In humans, the thymus stops growing in early childhood and gradually shrinks in size through adulthood, resulting in a gradual decline in immune system function.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.