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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Plasm \Plasm\, n. [L. plasma anything formed or molded, that which is molded, Gr. ?, ?, from ? to form, mold: cf. F. plasme. Cf. Plasma.]

  1. A mold or matrix in which anything is cast or formed to a particular shape. [R.]

  2. (Biol.) Same as Plasma.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1610s, "mold or matrix, cast;" see plasma. Meaning "living matter of a cell" is from 1864.


n. A mold or matrix in which anything is cast or formed to a particular shape.

  1. n. the protoplasm of the germ cells that contains chromosomes and genes [syn: germ plasm]

  2. colorless watery fluid of blood and lymph containing no cells and in which erythrocytes and leukocytes and platelets are suspended [syn: plasma]


PLaSM (Programming Language of Solid Modeling) is an open source scripting language for solid modeling, a discipline that constitutes the foundation of computer-aided design and CAD systems. In contrast to other CAD programs, PLaSM emphasizes scripting rather than interactive GUI work. Users can create arbitrarily complex designs using a wide range of simple 2D and 3D objects, advanced curves and curved surfaces, Boolean operations, and elementary as well as advanced geometric transformations.

The scripting approach is very different from working with an interactive Graphical User Interface (GUI). Although it means less user comfort, it is preferred by numerous CAD instructors as scripts reveal all details of the design procedure (not only the final design) and students are exposed to elementary computer programming.

PLaSM has been developed since the 1980s by the CAD group at the Universities Roma Tre and La Sapienza in Rome, Italy by Alberto Paoluzzi and his collaborators. It was used at the University of Rome to create an extensive database of ancient Rome architecture.

Usage examples of "plasm".

The city carried its plan deep within the living plasm of its fragmented body.

The normal process was for two brood minds to exchange plasm and form new team buds, then to exchange and nurture the buds.

Morgan had only succeeded in creating a few new species of fruit fly, of Drosophila, by exposing germ plasm to hard X-rays.

Asteroid dwellers and starship crew-members tend to deposit large quantities of germ plasm in storage once they reach adolescence.

Like Adamists, they tend to deposit their germ plasm into storage at the start of their careers.

This explanation is that some of the chromatin material or germ plasm is handed down from one generation to another, and is stored temporarily in the nucleii of the reproductive cells.

During the life of the individual this germ plasm is capable of increasing in amount without changing its nature, and it thus continues to grow and is handed down from generation to generation, always endowed with the power of developing into a new individual under proper conditions, and of course when it does thus give rise to new individuals they will all be alike.

The undifferentiated part of the germ plasm is thus simply handed on from one generation to the next.

If the individual is simply the unfolding of the powers possessed by a bit of germ plasm, and if this germ plasm is simply handed on from generation to generation, the successive generations must of necessity be identical.

Being born with the individual, they can not be produced by conditions affecting him, but rather to something affecting the germ plasm from which he sprung.

The nature of the germ plasm controls the nature of the individual, and congenital variations must consequently be due to its variations.

But it is not so easy to see how this germ plasm can undergo variation.

The first is by the direct influence upon the germ plasm of certain unknown external conditions.

If the germ plasm is wholly stored within the reproductive gland, it is certainly in a position to be only slightly affected by surrounding conditions which affect the animal.

This difficulty of understanding how the germ plasm can be affected by external conditions has led one school of biologists to deny that it is subject to any variation by external conditions, and hence that all modification of the germ plasm must come from some other source.