What does capillary mean?

Definitions for capillary
ˈkæp əˌlɛr icap·il·la·ry

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word capillary.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. capillary, capillary tube, capillary tubingnoun

    a tube of small internal diameter; holds liquid by capillary action

  2. capillary, capillary vesseladjective

    any of the minute blood vessels connecting arterioles with venules

  3. capillaryadjective

    of or relating to hair

  4. capillary, hairlikeadjective

    long and slender with a very small internal diameter

    "a capillary tube"


  1. capillarynoun

    A narrow tube

  2. capillarynoun

    Any of the small blood vessels that connect arteries to veins

  3. capillaryadjective

    of or pertaining to hair

  4. Etymology: From capillaris, from capillus, from caput.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Capillaryadjective

    Etymology: from capillus, hair, Lat.

    Capillary, or capillaceous plants, are such as have no main stalk or stem, but grow to the ground, as hairs on the head; and which bear their seeds in little tufts or protuberances on the backside of their leaves. John Quincy.

    Our common hyssop is not the least of vegetables, nor observed to grow upon walls; but rather, as Lemnius well conceiveth, some kind of capillaries, which are very small plants, and only grow upon walls and stony places. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours, b. vi. c. 7.

    Ten capillary arteries in some parts of the body, as in the brain, are not equal to one hair; and the smallest lymphatick vessels are an hundred times smaller than the smallest capillary artery. John Arbuthnot, on Aliments.


  1. Capillary

    A capillary is a small blood vessel from 5 to 10 micrometres (μm) in diameter. Capillaries are composed of only the tunica intima, consisting of a thin wall of simple squamous endothelial cells. They are the smallest blood vessels in the body: they convey blood between the arterioles and venules. These microvessels are the site of exchange of many substances with the interstitial fluid surrounding them. Substances which cross capillaries include water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, urea, glucose, uric acid, lactic acid and creatinine. Lymph capillaries connect with larger lymph vessels to drain lymphatic fluid 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 that then form vascular tubes. The term angiogenesis denotes the formation of new capillaries from pre-existing blood vessels and already present endothelium which divides.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Capillaryadjective

    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. Capillaryadjective

    pertaining to capillary tubes or vessels; as, capillary action

  3. Capillarynoun

    a tube or vessel, extremely fine or minute

  4. Capillarynoun

    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

  5. Etymology: [L. capillaris, fr. capillus hair. Cf. Capillaire.]


  1. Capillary

    Capillaries are the smallest of a body's blood vessels and are parts of the microcirculation. Their endothelial linings are only one cell layer thick. These microvessels, measuring 5-10 μm in diameter, connect arterioles and venules, and enable the exchange of water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and many other nutrients and waste chemical substances between blood and surrounding tissues. During embryological development, new capillaries are formed by vasculogenesis, the process of blood vessel formation occurring by a de novo production of endothelial cells and their formation into vascular tubes. The term angiogenesis denotes the formation of new capillaries from pre-existing blood vessels.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Capillary

    kap′il-a-ri, or ka-pil′a-ri, adj. as fine or minute as a hair: having a very small bore, as a tube.—n. a tube with a bore as fine as a hair: (pl.) the minute vessels that unite the veins and arteries in animals.—adj. Capillaceous (kap-i-lā′shi-us), hair-like, capillary.—n. Capillar′ity, a name given to certain phenomena which appear when open tubes, having a very small bore, are placed in vessels containing liquids—e.g., if placed in water, the level of the water in the tube will be above that of the general surface.—adj. Cap′illose, hairy. [L. capillariscapillus, hair, akin to caput, the head, akin to Eng. Head.]

Editors Contribution

  1. capillary

    A type of blood vessel.

    Our bodies have many types of capillary.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 7, 2020  


  1. Capillary

    long and slender like a hair: antennae in which the joints are long, slender and loosely articulated.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of capillary in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of capillary in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

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"capillary." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 2 Apr. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/capillary>.

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    manifestly demonstrative
    • A. numinous
    • B. sesquipedalian
    • C. ostensive
    • D. askant

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