Definition of lymph in US English:



  • 1Physiology
    A colorless fluid containing white blood cells, which bathes the tissues and drains through the lymphatic system into the bloodstream.

    • ‘This injection also identifies the lymphatic basins, nodal areas, and respective lymph draining sites that are considered to be at risk for metastases.’
    • ‘The lymphatic system is a network of very fine vessels or tubes called lymphatics that drain lymph from all over the body.’
    • ‘This includes cell salts, fatty tissue, lymph, red and white blood cells, two glands of the endocrine system and even the bones.’
    • ‘The lymph drained from the small intestine has an additional function: it carries the fats absorbed from the food.’
    • ‘In contrast to lymph nodes, the thymus contains no lymph sinuses or afferent lymphatic vessels.’
    1. 1.1 Fluid exuding from a sore or inflamed tissue.
      • ‘In 1798, the British physician Edward Jenner used a milkmaid's lymph containing cowpox virus to vaccinate a child.’
      • ‘No patient died during the period of lymph sampling.’
      • ‘Legs become scaly, swollen, and exude lymph fluid.’
      • ‘He did not know the specific infective agent but was certain that a treatment would soon be available in the form of a ‘vaccine of Pasteur or lymph of Koch.’’
      • ‘Even better, the following morning, Hartz quietly escorted [him] into von Bergmann's clinical wards to examine the patients who had received Koch's lymph.’
  • 2literary Pure water.

    • ‘I refreshed myself in the mid-day heat by drinking its pure lymph from the hollow of my hand, and gazed with long and insatiable delight upon the memorable fountain.’


Late 16th century (in lymph (sense 2)): from French lymphe or Latin lympha, limpa ‘water’.