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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Lysis \Ly"sis\ (l[imac]"s[i^]s), n. [NL., fr. Gr. ly`sis.] (Med.) The resolution or favorable termination of a disease, coming on gradually and not marked by abrupt change.

Note: It is usually contrasted with crisis, in which the improvement is sudden and marked; as, pneumonia ends by crisis, typhoid fever by lysis.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"dissolution of cells, bacteria, etc.," 1902, from Latin lysis, from Greek lysis "a loosening," from lyein "to unfasten, loose, loosen, untie" (see lose).


n. 1 (context medicine pathology English) A gradual recovery from disease (opposed to '''crisis'''). 2 (context biochemistry English) The disintegration or destruction of cells 3 (context biochemistry English) The breakdown of molecules into constituent molecules

  1. n. recuperation in which the symptoms of an acute disease gradually subside

  2. (biochemistry) dissolution or destruction of cells such as blood cells or bacteria

  3. [also: lyses (pl)]


Lysis ( ; Greek λύσις lýsis, "a losing" from λύειν lýein, "to unbind") refers to the breaking down of the membrane of a cell, often by viral, enzymic, or osmotic (that is, "lytic" ) mechanisms that compromise its integrity. A fluid containing the contents of lysed cells is called a lysate. In molecular biology, biochemistry, and cell biology laboratories, cell cultures may be subjected to lysis in the process of purifying their components, as in protein purification, DNA extraction, RNA extraction, or in purifying organelles.

Many species of bacteria are subject to lysis by the enzyme lysozyme, found in animal saliva, egg white, and other secretions. Phage lytic enzymes (lysins) produced during bacteriophage infection are responsible for the ability of these viruses to lyse bacterial cells. Penicillin and related β-lactam antibiotics cause the death of bacteria through enzyme-mediated lysis that occurs after the drug causes the bacterium to form a defective cell wall. If cell wall is completely lost, the bacterium is referred as a protoplast if penicillin was used on gram-positive bacteria, and spheroplast when used on gram-negative bacteria.

Lysis (dialogue)

Lysis (; ) is a dialogue of Plato which discusses the nature of friendship. It is generally classified as an early dialogue.

The main characters are Socrates, the boys Lysis and Menexenus who are friends, as well as Hippothales, who is in unrequited love with Lysis and therefore, after the initial conversation, hides himself behind the surrounding listeners. Socrates proposes four possible notions regarding the true nature of friendship:

  1. Friendship between people who are similar, interpreted by Socrates as friendship between good men.
  2. Friendship between men who are dissimilar.
  3. Friendship between men who are neither good nor bad and good men.
  4. Gradually emerging: friendship between those who are relatives (οἰκεῖοι "not kindred") by the nature of their souls.

Of all those options, Socrates thinks that the only logical possibility is the friendship between men who are good and men who are neither good nor bad.

In the end, Socrates seems to discard all these ideas as wrong, although his para-logical refutations have strong hints of irony about them.

Lysis (disambiguation)

Lysis can refer to:

  • Lysis, the dissolving of cells known more specifically as cytolysis
  • Lysis (disease), the reduction of symptoms of a disease
  • Lysis (dialogue), a dialogue of Plato about friendship (philia)
  • Lysis of Taras, a Greek philosopher
  • Lytic cycle, one of the two cycles of viral reproduction, the other being the lysogenic cycle

Usage examples of "lysis".

He shook his head, furious with himself, and strode onward, donning his dark glasses as he reached the big open platform between the tubes where dead cultures were slued for drying, lysis, and recycling to the organic intake pipe.