Definition of filament in English:



  • 1A slender thread-like object or fibre, especially one found in animal or plant structures.

    ‘each myosin filament is usually surrounded by 12 actin filaments’
    • ‘Her only connection to the world a tenuous filament of wires, tubes and intravenous needles.’
    • ‘He had division of the terminal filament for a tethered spinal cord, which was thought to be the cause of his symptoms.’
    • ‘Her fur was standing on end, like filaments of wire.’
    • ‘They use it to convert energy into movement, exerted against polar actin filaments.’
    • ‘For example, all three contract when a rise in calcium inside the muscle cell allows interaction between actin and myosin filaments.’
    • ‘On a transparent blue expanse, a swaddled figure lies in a passive curve, suspended in a heavenly hammock of spidery filaments, surrendered to the life of the mind.’
    • ‘We determined the dissociation constants of our mutants for skeletal muscle actin using capped filaments.’
    • ‘Tinted prints of Andy Warhol's inflated ‘silver clouds’ dangled on filaments in the first and second galleries.’
    • ‘Place it indoors, in a quiet room, and the smoke becomes a cloud of wispy filaments, swirling gently until they all blend into a screen of gray.’
    • ‘They are twisted masses of tiny filaments or fibers inside nerve cells.’
    fibre, thread, strand, tendril
    string, wire, cable, cord
    fibril, cilium
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    1. 1.1Botany The slender part of a stamen that supports the anther.
      • ‘Short and long stamens were measured from the base of the filament to the tip of the anthers.’
      • ‘In these flowers, the anthers are attached to the petals by short filaments half way down the corolla tube.’
      • ‘At the balloon stage of flowering, petals were peeled away and the swollen anthers were removed from the filaments by rubbing the open flower on wire mesh.’
      • ‘The style is enclosed in a tube formed by the five fused anthers and filaments.’
      • ‘Smearing of pollen is facilitated by the fanning out of anthers borne at the ends of the filaments.’
    2. 1.2Astronomy A narrow streamer from the sun's chromosphere or in its corona.
      • ‘Picking a fax out of the machine, he reviewed the hand sketches of sunspots, coronal holes, filaments, and prominences of the Sun as drawn by observers at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.’
  • 2A conducting wire or thread with a high melting point, forming part of an electric bulb or thermionic valve and heated or made incandescent by an electric current.

    • ‘The most important factors determining the heating of a filament to incandescence are thermal mass and electrical resistance of the filament.’
    • ‘As he watched it burn he noticed how individual strands of the wood glowed white as they burned fiercely, and that convinced him that bamboo might be the best material to use for his light bulb filaments.’
    • ‘It glimmers at barely 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is cooler than a light bulb filament.’
    • ‘An incandescent black light bulb is similar to a normal household light bulb, but it uses light filters to absorb the light from the heated filament.’
    • ‘In one experiment, the researchers formed the yarn into a lightbulb filament and found that its strength and conductivity increased after it heated up.’
    • ‘It is like comparing a red-hot poker pulled from a fire with the filament in an electric light bulb: there is no doubt concerning which is the brighter.’
    • ‘By incorporating nanowires as filaments in bigger superconducting wires, for example, more current could be carried without being destroyed by a magnetic field.’
    • ‘Lewis Latimer, the son of runaway slaves, became an electrical engineer and invented an inexpensive process for making light bulb filaments.’
    • ‘The new lamp not only has the size and shape of a conventional filament bulb but also comes with a standard screw base and can therefore be fitted in any lamp or light socket.’
    • ‘But unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs, they don't have a filament that will burn out, and they don't get especially hot.’
    • ‘He used a carbon filament in an oxygen-free bulb.’
    • ‘An incandescent light bulb contains a thin wire filament (usually tungsten) that glows hot when an electric current is run through it.’
    • ‘The filaments in the lightbulbs we'd started manufacturing kept burning up.’
    • ‘A strong, alternating current heats a resistive filament, causing it to emit electrons.’
    • ‘The inert gas prevents the wire filament inside the bulb from reacting chemically with oxygen and burning out quickly.’
    • ‘Regular incandescent light bulbs produce light by heating a small filament inside the bulb.’
    • ‘In an incandescent bulb, the filament is made of a thin piece of tungsten metal, coiled to fit inside the bulb; if it were stretched out, it would measure about 6 feet long!’
    • ‘Unlike an incandescent bulb, no filament is needed.’
    • ‘The tungsten filament of an incandescent light is an example of a wire under extreme conditions.’
    • ‘It was as white and alive as the filament of a light bulb viewed close up.’
    cord, rope, string, cable, wire, thread, twine, strand, ligature
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Late 16th century: from French, or from modern Latin filamentum, from late Latin filare to spin, from Latin filum thread.