Definition of capillary in English:


Line breaks: ca¦pil|lary
Pronunciation: /kəˈpɪləri

noun (plural capillaries)

  • 1 Anatomy Any of the fine branching blood vessels that form a network between the arterioles and venules.
    More example sentences
    • Blood obtained from a skin puncture is a mixture of arterioles, venules and capillaries and contains interstitial and intracellular fluids.
    • Between the arteries and the veins are networks of tiny blood vessels called capillaries.
    • Immature vessels coalesce to form larger vessels and organize into capillaries, arterioles, and venules.
  • 2 (also capillary tube) A tube which has an internal diameter of hair-like thinness.
    More example sentences
    • Different diameter capillary tubes are used for thinner or thicker oils.
    • Scientists have long used ultra-fine glass tubes known as capillaries to analyze the chemical makeup of substances.
    • The packed cell volume is determined by centrifuging the specimen in capillary tubes and measuring the height of the red cell column.


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  • Relating to capillaries or capillarity: capillary blood
    More example sentences
    • Alveolar wall thickening with eosinophilic materials and capillary congestion with red blood cells were evident in the mice with emphysema at 72 hours.
    • While patients with insulin-requiring diabetes are in active labor, capillary blood glucose levels should be monitored hourly.
    • One of the most colorful controversies in the first decade of the 20th century concerned how oxygen moved across the pulmonary capillary wall into the blood.


mid 17th century: from Latin capillaris, from capillus 'hair', influenced by Old French capillaire.

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