Definition of dendrite in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdendrīt/


1 Physiology A short branched extension of a nerve cell, along which impulses received from other cells at synapses are transmitted to the cell body. Compare with axon.
Example sentences
  • Axons send signals to other cells and dendrites receive them.
  • Gray matter, made up of the bodies of nerve cells and their connecting dendrites, is where the brain's heavy lifting is done.
  • The dendrites and axon terminals of individual neurons can be extensively branched; a single neuron can receive as many as 100,000 different inputs.
Image of dendrite
2A crystal or crystalline mass with a branching, treelike structure.
Example sentences
  • Not only were neurons structured with more dendrites, they also ‘fired’ electrical signals more rapidly and sustained their firing for longer periods of time, the study showed.
  • Lithium metal may also be plated out as crystalline dendrites that ultimately penetrate the separator and cause an internal short-circuit of the cell.
  • Spatial dendrites are three-dimensional crystals with intermediate terminal velocities.
2.1A natural treelike or mosslike marking on a piece of rock or mineral.
Example sentences
  • One is reminded of the famous fernlike markings on the Solnhofen fossils known as dendrites.
  • In the silver case, there is a particularly fine featherlike dendrite of native silver from the La Nevada mine, Chihuahua, Mexico.
  • Alan Charig et al. found that when he backwardly printed a negative photograph of the counterslab dendrite patterns, they match perfectly with the corresponding dendrites of the main slab.


Early 18th century: from French, from Greek dendritēs 'treelike', from dendron 'tree'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: den·drite

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