Definition of grey matter in English:

grey matter


  • 1[mass noun] The darker tissue of the brain and spinal cord, consisting mainly of nerve cell bodies and branching dendrites.

    Compare with white matter
    • ‘They had less grey matter in the frontal lobes and had enlarged ventricles.’
    • ‘The brain has two types of tissue, white matter that holds the brain together and gray matter that contains ‘thinking cells.’’
    • ‘The more severe a patient's ADHD symptoms - as rated by parents and clinicians - the smaller were their frontal lobes, temporal gray matter, caudate nucleus and cerebellum.’
    • ‘In some tissues, such as gray matter in the brain, water also diffuses in an approximately spherical pattern.’
    • ‘Biopsies of Lewis' patients suggest that the virus had attacked the grey matter in the spinal cord, which contains nerve fibres running to and from the muscles.’
    1. 1.1informal Intelligence.
      ‘I wish I had a little of her grey matter’
      • ‘That way those of us who so desire - myself included - can go on working for as long as the body and the old grey matter permit.’
      • ‘They are still behaving as if they were the stupid party, even though they manifestly possess rather more grey matter, head for head, than Labour.’
      • ‘College professors like Felix Bethel, who have considerable intellectual grey matter do not hold these beliefs.’
      • ‘He holds degrees in criminal justice and psychology and I have already been picking his scholarly gray matter.’
      intelligence, intellect, intellectual capacity, mental capacity, brains, brainpower, cleverness, wit, wits, powers of reasoning, reasoning, wisdom, sagacity, acumen, discernment, shrewdness, judgement, understanding, common sense, sense
      nous, savvy, braininess, upper storey
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grey matter