cell


cell
cell early 12c., "small room," from L. cella "small room, store room, hut," related to L. celare "to hide, conceal," from PIE root *kel- "conceal" (Cf. Skt. cala "hut, house, hall;" Gk. kalia "hut, nest," kalyptein "to cover," koleon "sheath," kelyphos "shell, husk;" L. clam "secret;" O.Ir. cuile "cellar," celim "hide," M.Ir. cul "defense, shelter;" Goth. hulistr "covering," O.E. heolstor "lurking-hole, cave, covering," Goth. huljan "cover over," hulundi "hole," hilms "helmet," halja "hell," O.E. hol "cave," holu "husk, pod"). Earliest sense is for monastic rooms, then prison rooms (1722). Used in 14c., figuratively, of brain "compartments;" used in biology 17c. of various cavities, but not in modern sense of "basic structure of living organisms" until 1845. Meaning "small group of people working within a larger organization" is from 1925. Cell body is from 1878; cell division from 1882; cell membrane from 1870 (but cellular membrane is 1773); cell wall from c.1848.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Cell — Cell, n. [OF. celle, fr. L. cella; akin to celare to hide, and E. hell, helm, conceal. Cf. {Hall}.] 1. A very small and close apartment, as in a prison or in a monastery or convent; the hut of a hermit. [1913 Webster] The heroic confessor in his… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cell — cell; cell·fal·cic·u·la; cell·vib·rio; cni·do·cell; en·sor·cell; ovi·cell; pho·to·cell; semi·cell; uni·cell; en·sor·cell·ment; mi·cell; …   English syllables

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