Definition of micelle in English:


Pronunciation /mʌɪˈsɛl//mɪˈsɛl/


  • An aggregate of molecules in a colloidal solution, such as those formed by detergents.

    • ‘The SDS molecules group together to form negatively charged micelles.’
    • ‘One structure, known as a micelle, is a small, spherical cluster of molecules that have the phosphate groups on the surface and the fatty acid tails on the interior.’
    • ‘In a second step, these helices are inserted into the hydrophobic environment of the detergent micelle.’
    • ‘The team made micelles from polymer molecules that have a water-attracting end and a water-avoiding end.’
    • ‘As the polyethylene oxide drew more water out of the fibroin solution, the micelles aggregated into microscopic globules.’


Late 19th century: coined as a diminutive of Latin mica ‘crumb’.