Definition of cortex in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkôrˌteks/

noun (plural cortices /-təˌsēz/)

1The outer layer of the cerebrum (the cerebral cortex), composed of folded gray matter and playing an important role in consciousness.
Example sentences
  • Parts of the thalamus, and the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex that are important in controlling mood, also connect to the hypothalamus.
  • Careful prospective and controlled studies of autonomic function will clarify the roles of the cortex and the brainstem in the generation and expression of seizures.
  • The frontal cortex is important in planning, impulse control, and attention.
1.1An outer layer of another organ or body part such as a kidney (the renal cortex), the cerebellum, or a hair.
Example sentences
  • As well, the pigments used have less capacity for oxygenation and thus stay small enough to be removed from the hair cortex in 6 to 12 shampoos.
  • The cortex (inner layer) of your hair is protected by the cuticle (outer layer).
  • Distribution of the cadmium concentration in the kidney cortex, liver, and lung, with respect to age, is shown in Figure 1.
1.2 Botany An outer layer of tissue immediately below the epidermis of a stem or root.
Example sentences
  • The notion that the root cortex of flowering plants that grow in aquatic or wetland environments under hypoxic conditions is comprised primarily of enlarged air spaces, or lacunae, has been considered for at least 150 years.
  • The photographs indicate movement of oil from treated leaf surfaces to stems and extensive distribution of oil in the mesophyll, cortex, phloem, xylem, and pith of plant tissues.
  • The soil-borne mycorrhizal fungi colonize the root cortex biotrophycally, then develop an external mycelium which is a bridge connecting the root with the surrounding soil microhabitats.


Late Middle English: from Latin, literally 'bark'.

  • This is a Latin word meaning literally ‘tree bark, husk’.

Words that rhyme with cortex

Gore-tex, vortex

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cor·tex

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.