Definition of tissue in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈtiSHo͞o/


1Any of the distinct types of material of which animals or plants are made, consisting of specialized cells and their products: inflammation is a reaction of living tissue to infection or injury (tissues) the organs and tissues of the body
More example sentences
  • For example, brain and hematopoietic stem cells give rise only to neural tissue and blood cells, respectively.
  • Subcutaneous adipose tissue and skeletal muscle mass, however, were the same in both groups.
  • This technique has been used for many tissues, including neural and cardiac tissue and cartilage.
2.1A disposable piece of absorbent paper, used especially as a handkerchief or for cleaning the skin.
Example sentences
  • Your nose is blocked by sudden untapped reserves of mucus, so it's lucky you keep a box of paper tissues beside your bed.
  • There's a lot in modern life for which to be thankful and the invention and availability of paper tissues is high on the list.
  • Quickly she left the room to go search for a clean tissue to wipe the cut.
2.2Rich or fine material of a delicate or gauzy texture: [as modifier]: the blue and silver tissue sari
More example sentences
  • Elements from the paintings have been picked up to create a collection of saris and drapes in brocades, georgettes, tissue and jacquard crepe de chine.
3 [in singular] An intricate structure or network made from a number of connected items: such scandalous stories are a tissue of lies
More example sentences
  • In fact, the whole thing sounds like a tissue of lies from beginning to end.
  • ‘Anyone who knows me will recognise the orchestrated campaign of character assassination was a tissue of lies,’ he said.
  • In his twisted world, this mild exposition is a tissue of lies, misrepresentations, and abuse of power.



sense 2.
Example sentences
  • After his death he was changed into the flower with delicate tissuey petals which bears his name.
  • Strange to say, though, the sheeting reminds me of the tissuey, disposable headrest covers on airline seats.
  • A frenzied cello complemented the sound like a soft spray of perfume on tissuey stationary.


Late Middle English: from Old French tissu 'woven', past participle of tistre, from Latin texere 'to weave'. The word originally denoted a rich material, often interwoven with gold or silver threads, later (mid 16th century) any woven fabric, hence the notion of 'intricacy'.

  • An Old French word that goes back to Latin texere ‘to weave’, the source of text. Tissue was originally a rich material often interwoven with gold or silver threads. From the idea of woven material came the notion of an intricate, connected series in the phrase a tissue of lies. The biological sense is from the mid 19th century. The 20th-century modern disposable paper hankie developed from tissue paper, which has been shortened to tissue since the late 18th century.

Words that rhyme with tissue

issue, Mogadishu

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tis·sue

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.