capillary tube

capillary tube


  1. pertaining to or occurring in or as if in a tube of fine bore.
  2. resembling a strand of hair; hairlike.
  3. Physics.
    1. pertaining to capillarity.
    2. of or relating to the apparent attraction or repulsion between a liquid and a solid, observed in capillarity.
  4. Anatomy. pertaining to a capillary or capillaries.

noun, plural cap·il·lar·ies.

  1. Anatomy. one of the minute blood vessels between the terminations of the arteries and the beginnings of the veins.
  2. Also called capillary tube. a tube with a small bore.


  1. a glass tube with a fine bore and thick walls, used in thermometers, etc


  1. resembling a hair; slender
  2. (of tubes) having a fine bore
  3. anatomy of or relating to any of the delicate thin-walled blood vessels that form an interconnecting network between the arterioles and the venules
  4. physics of or relating to capillarity

noun plural -laries

  1. anatomy any of the capillary blood vessels
  2. a fine hole or narrow passage in any substance

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.


  1. Of or relating to the capillaries.
  2. Relating to or resembling a hair; fine and slender.


  1. Blood capillary.

  1. Any of the tiny blood vessels that connect the smallest arteries (arterioles) to the smallest veins (venules). Capillaries form a network throughout the body for the exchange of oxygen, metabolic waste products, and carbon dioxide between blood and tissue cells.

A thin tube, such as a blood vessel or a straw, through which fluids flow.

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