Definition of cell in English:


Syllabification: cell


1A small room in which a prisoner is locked up or in which a monk or nun sleeps.
More example sentences
  • So what that means is that he's locked up at night in a prison cell on his own, so that's solitary confinement.
  • The change of status would also mean that Tommy has to be transferred from a detention cell to a prison room, which he has to share with other convicts.
  • At 2pm on Tuesday last all 190 prisoners were locked in their cells as prison officers staged a one-hour walk-out.
room, cubicle, chamber;
1.1 historical A small monastery or nunnery dependent on a larger one.
More example sentences
  • Avebury subsequently attracted a monastic cell, and suffered attempts to destroy its standing stones.
  • Late in the same century the site became a dependent cell of the Durham Benedictines.
2 Biology The smallest structural and functional unit of an organism, typically microscopic and consisting of cytoplasm and a nucleus enclosed in a membrane. Microscopic organisms typically consist of a single cell, which is either eukaryotic or prokaryotic.
More example sentences
  • When this occurs, the cytoplasm from the two cells fuses, but the nuclei remain separate and distinct.
  • The scientists also produced a continuously growing line of cultured embryonic germ cells.
  • Even mammals have nucleated red blood cells in their bone marrow.
2.1An enclosed cavity in an organism.
More example sentences
  • The plaque deposits did not form cell casts or polyhedra and did not penetrate into the cell cavities, but were an external deposit only.
2.2A small compartment in a larger structure such as a honeycomb.
More example sentences
  • Then there's the honeycomb shades, so called because in profile they look like cells of a honeycomb strung together.
  • Once the honey is gooey enough, the bees seal off the cell of the honeycomb with a plug of wax.
  • The interior of a cell contains structures called organelles that can be compared to the organs in a body.
3A small group forming a nucleus of political activity, typically a secret, subversive one: the weapons may be used to arm terrorist cells
More example sentences
  • Finally, there is a claim it was less a social club than a political cell.
  • It is an open secret now that the ISI has a political cell.
  • The extortion then funds the further activities of the terror cell.
unit, faction, arm, section, ring, coterie, group
4The local area covered by one of the short-range transmitters in a cellular telephone system.
More example sentences
  • The service operates in local areas known as cells.
  • The total area within these cells, determines the coverage of a network service provider.
  • Mobiles located in areas of other cells and operating at the same frequency experience the effect of the tuning signal as an interference.
4.1North American A cellular phone: I’ll just call him on his cell
5A device containing electrodes immersed in an electrolyte, used for current-generation or electrolysis.
More example sentences
  • This is said to be important when welding heat-sensitive parts such as miniature battery cells or sensitive electronic devices.
  • In addition to electrical conduction, the cells are polarized by the force of applied voltage.
  • A few years ago, the companies involved in the voltage race tried to get more cells in NiCad battery packs to power bigger tools.
5.1A unit in a device for converting chemical or solar energy into electricity.
More example sentences
  • Chemical reactions inside the cell strip electrons from the hydrogen atoms to produce a voltage that can power a circuit.
  • Although Scotland has the brains to develop them, solar energy and hydrogen cells are all but ignored.
  • Most designs use photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity.


Old English, from Old French celle or Latin cella 'storeroom or chamber'.



[in combination]: a single-celled organism


More example sentences
  • Tiny, cell-like structures were built to accommodate the women, along with a new chapel.
  • Platelets are tiny cell-like disks that collect and form blood clots at the site of an injury.
  • The ‘zone’ also describes the cell-like structure of mobile phone networks themselves, explored very effectively in the work of Dunne & Raby at the RCA.

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