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From Ancient Greek παρέγχυμα (parénkhuma, anything poured in beside), from παρά 'alongside' + -enchyma.



parenchyma (countable and uncountable, plural parenchymas or parenchymata)

  1. (anatomy, zoology) The functional or specialized tissue of an organ, as opposed to stroma or connective tissue. [from 16th c.]
    • 1997, Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind, Folio Society 2016, p. 217:
      Previously blood and air had been thought to mingle freely in the fleshy parenchyma of the lungs, but the microscope now revealed the membranous alveoli at the ends of the tracheo-bronchial ramifications.
  2. (botany) The ground tissue making up most of the non-woody parts of a plant. [from 17th c.]
  3. (zoology) The cellular tissue making up the main body of certain kinds of invertebrates, especially flatworms. [from 17th c.]
    • 1665, Robert Hooke, Micrographia, XXII:
      [I]n a Sponge, the Parenchyma, it seems, is but a kind of mucous gelly, which is very easily and cleerly wash'd away.

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