noun Biology.

a membrane-bound cavity within a cell, often containing a watery liquid or secretion.
a minute cavity or vesicle in organic tissue.

Origin of vacuole

From French, dating back to 1850–55; see origin at vacuum, -ole1
Related formsvac·u·o·lar [vak-yoo-oh-ler, vak-yoo-uh-, vak-yuh-ler] /ˌvæk yuˈoʊ lər, ˈvæk yu ə-, ˈvæk yə lər/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vacuole

Historical Examples of vacuole

  • There is always one nucleus and one vacuole, but both may be more numerous.

  • We have received the impression that we have here to deal with a vacuole filled with substance secreted by the cell.

  • The number of the vacuole containing cells is 15-20% of the colourless blood corpuscles.

  • At each end of the cell is a vacuole containing small granules that show an active dancing movement.

  • This is done by pulsation of the vacuole, which ultimately bursts, passing fluid waste to the outside.

    A Civic Biology

    George William Hunter

British Dictionary definitions for vacuole



biology a fluid-filled cavity in the cytoplasm of a cell
Derived Formsvacuolar, adjectivevacuolate (ˈvækjʊəlɪt, -ˌleɪt), adjectivevacuolation (ˌvækjʊəˈleɪʃən), noun

Word Origin for vacuole

C19: from French, literally: little vacuum, from Latin vacuum
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

Word Origin and History for vacuole

1853, from French vacuole, from Latin vacuus "empty" (see vacuum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vacuole in Medicine




A small cavity in the cytoplasm of a cell, bound by a single membrane and containing water, food, or metabolic waste.
A small space or cavity in a tissue.
Related formsvac′u•olar (lər, -lär′) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

vacuole in Science



A cavity within the cytoplasm of a cell, surrounded by a single membrane and containing fluid, food, or metabolic waste. Vacuoles are found in the cells of plants, protists, and some primitive animals. In mature plant cells, there is usually one large vacuole which occupies a large part of the cell's volume and is filled with a liquid called cell sap. The cell sap stores food reserves, pigments, defensive toxins, and waste products to be expelled or broken down. In the cells of protists, however, there may be many small specialized vacuoles, such as digestive vacuoles for the absorption of captured food and contractile vacuoles for the expulsion of excess water or wastes. See more at cell.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.