Definition of gray matter in English:

gray matter


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

    Compare with white matter
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They had less grey matter in the frontal lobes and had enlarged ventricles.’
    1. 1.1informal Intelligence.
      ‘I wish I had a little of her gray 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


gray matter

/ˈɡrā ˈˌmadər/