Definition of receptor in English:


Syllabification: re·cep·tor
Pronunciation: /riˈseptər


  • 1An organ or cell able to respond to light, heat, or other external stimulus and transmit a signal to a sensory nerve.
    More example sentences
    • In the special sense organs, such as the eye and the ear, highly specialized receptors respond to light and sound.
    • Our own skin contains a battery of touch receptors that produce nerve signals when pressed.
    • However, they have some ability to sense light through receptors in the epidermis.
  • 1.1A region of tissue, or a molecule in a cell membrane, that responds specifically to a particular neurotransmitter, hormone, antigen, or other substance.
    More example sentences
    • When the neurotransmitter binds with the receptor, the next cell responds accordingly.
    • Hormones work by docking with a specific receptor on a cell, which then responds by turning on genes.
    • Finally, the presence of a specific receptor in the target tissue is required for a hormone to have its effect.


early 20th century: coined in German from Latin receptor, from recept- 'taken back', from the verb recipere (see receive).

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