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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
capillary action
▪ Blood fills the space and clots, capillaries grow into the clot and form granulation tissue.
▪ Fibrous tissue replaces this, the capillaries heal and contract down over a period of months to leave a linear scar.
▪ Following a hard workout, one runner was flooded with images of breaking capillaries.
▪ It simply floats along with billions of other cells through miles of veins, arteries and capillaries.
▪ One is hemorrhage produced by gas in the capillaries in the eye socket.
▪ The pathogen could disrupt these vital cells, which would cause the capillaries to become leaky.
▪ The polymer is introduced into the dilatometer between the point A and the capillary.
▪ This has walls thick with blood capillaries which absorb gaseous oxygen.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Capillary \Cap"il*la*ry\, n.; pl. Capillaries.

  1. A tube or vessel, extremely fine or minute.

  2. (Anat.) A minute, thin-walled vessel; particularly one of the smallest blood vessels connecting arteries and veins, but used also for the smallest lymphatic and biliary vessels.


Capillary \Cap"il*la*ry\ (k[a^]p"[i^]l*l[asl]*r[y^] or k[.a]*p[i^]l"l[.a]*r[y^]; 277), a. [L. capillaris, fr. capillus hair. Cf. Capillaire.]

  1. Resembling a hair; fine; minute; very slender; having minute tubes or interspaces; having very small bore; as, the capillary vessels of animals and plants.

  2. Pertaining to capillary tubes or vessels; as, capillary action.

    Capillary attraction, Capillary repulsion, the apparent attraction or repulsion between a solid and liquid caused by capillarity. See Capillarity, and Attraction.

    Capillarity tubes. See the Note under Capillarity.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1650s, "of or pertaining to the hair," from Latin capillaris "of hair," from capillus "hair" (of the head); perhaps related to caput "head" (but de Vaan finds this "difficult on the formal side" and "far from compelling, since capillus is a diminutive, and would mean 'little head', which hardly amounts to 'hair'"). Borrowed earlier as capillar (14c.). Meaning "taking place in capillary vessels" is from 1809. Capillary attraction attested from 1813. As a noun, "capillary blood vessel," from 1660s.


a. 1 of or pertaining to hair 2 pertaining to a narrow tube n. 1 A narrow tube 2 (context anatomy English) Any of the small blood vessels that connect arteries to veins

  1. adj. of or relating to hair

  2. long and slender with a very small internal diameter; "a capillary tube" [syn: hairlike]

  1. n. a tube of small internal diameter; holds liquid by capillary action [syn: capillary tube, capillary tubing]

  2. any of the minute blood vessels connecting arterioles with venules [syn: capillary vessel]


Capillaries ( in US; in UK) are the smallest of a body's blood vessels (and lymph vessels) that make up the microcirculation. Their endothelial linings are only one cell layer thick. These microvessels, measuring around 5 to 10 micrometres (µm) in diameter, connect arterioles and venules, and they help to enable the exchange of water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and many other nutrients and waste substances between the blood and the tissues surrounding them. Lymph capillaries connect with larger lymph vessels to drain lymph collected in the microcirculation.

During early embryonic development new capillaries are formed through vasculogenesis, the process of blood vessel formation that occurs through a de novo production of endothelial cells which then form vascular tubes. The term angiogenesis denotes the formation of new capillaries from pre-existing blood vessels and already present endothelium which divides.

Capillary (disambiguation)

A capillary is a small blood vessel or any small diameter tube.

Capillary may also refer to:

  • Capillary length, a characteristic length scale in fluid mechanics
  • Capillary action, the drawing of liquid into a tube or porous material
  • Capillary electrophoresis, the separation of charged species by voltage applied to a small tube
  • Capillary wave, is a liquid surface wave (ripples), whose dynamics are dominated by the effects of surface tension.

Usage examples of "capillary".

The secretion with animal matter in solution is then drawn by capillary attraction over the whole surface of the leaf, causing all the glands to secrete and allowing them to absorb the diffused animal matter.

The aqueous humor leaks into the anterior chamber from nets of capillaries in the ciliary body and out again through a small duct near the point where the iris meets the cornea.

The blood flows into the capillary vessels in greater abundance than is natural, and those vessels become over-dilated and enfeebled and so altered in their sensibility as to produce local excitement and pain.

The hemoglobin takes up molecular oxygen in the lung capillaries, ozonizes it, and since hemin is easily reduced, the red cells give up oxygen to the muscle cells that need it, in return for carbon dioxide.

CERN, Maximilian Kohler, opened his eyes to the cool rush of cromolyn and leukotriene in his body, dilating his bronchial tubes and pulmonary capillaries.

The director of CERN, Maximilian Kohler, opened his eyes to the cool rush of cromolyn and leukotriene in his body, dilating his bronchial tubes and pulmonary capillaries.

I read the extract half-heartedly and found it sheer gobbledegook, with terms such as capillary beds, adrenaline and noradrenaline, biochemical responses, inhibitory cells and the like.

The Focused were being herded in groups of four and five, first out of the little capillary hallways that led to their roomlets, then into the tributary halls and finally into the main corridors.

Bernie down the hall in the toilet, who has all kinds of urolagnia jokes to tell, his mother Brenda in the kitchen who talks of hashish hush puppies, dildos rigged to pump floods of paregoric orgasm to the capillaries of the womb, prayers to Astarte and Lilith, queen of the night, reaches into the true Night of the Other, cold and naked on linoleum floors after days without sleep, the dreams and tears become a natural state.

These convey to the lungs blood that has already been supplied with oxygen, passing it into the capillaries in the walls of the bronchi, bronchial tubes, and large blood vessels, as well as the connective tissue between the lobes of the lungs.

Is it strange, when woman has thus exhausted her energies, when her body trembles with fatigue and her mind is agitated with responsibilities, that the menses capriciously return, or the uterus is unable to withstand congestion, and capillary hemorrhage becomes excessive?

Europe is due to the perfect integration of Roman capillary habits with the general morphology of the characters he usually portrays.

Out of red blood, blood-vessels are formed, and from the incipient development of the heart follow faint lines of arteries, and the engineers of nutrition survey a circulatory system, perfecting the vascular connections by supplementing the arteries with a complete net-work of veins and capillaries.

He had a huge, jowly face with a splotchy red nose blistered with fiery capillaries.

Dura felt the prickle of cooling superfluid capillaries opening all over her body.