Definition of lymphatic in US English:



  • 1Physiology
    attributive Relating to lymph or its secretion.

    ‘lymphatic vessels’
    ‘lymphatic drainage’
    • ‘You've got arterial venous vessels and the lymphatic vessels return fluid and debris and cells from the interstitial fluid around the vessels, back to the venous circulation.’
    • ‘Lymph nodes also contain efferent lymphatic vessels, which lack Factor VIII staining.’
    • ‘Manual drainage opens nonfunctioning lymphatic and venous connections and directs lymph through collateral vessels to adjacent normal lymphatics.’
    • ‘These therapies involve turning patients at various angles to improve gas exchange, mobilization of secretions, and lymphatic drainage.’
    • ‘Lymphatic watersheds represent divisions between lymphatic drainage regions that drain in opposite directions.’
  • 2archaic (of a person) pale, flabby, or sluggish.

    • ‘He was a lymphatic, half-witted Hindu youth, who lived his life in almost complete silence, because he spoke some Manipur dialect which nobody else understood, not even his Zerbadi wife.’
    • ‘He was of that soft, lymphatic temperament which it is almost impossible to keep within a moderate compass, particularly as in his case his lameness prevented his taking exercise.’
    sluggish, lethargic, enervated, unenergetic, listless, languid, torpid, inactive, inert, slow, slow-moving, sleepy, somnolent, drowsy, weary, tired, fatigued, heavy, apathetic
    View synonyms


  • A vessel, similar to a vein, that conveys lymph in the body.

    • ‘All resection margins, blood vessels, lymphatics, and regional lymph nodes were free of tumor.’
    • ‘The lymphatic system is a network of very fine vessels or tubes called lymphatics that drain lymph from all over the body.’
    • ‘Invasion of neoplastic cells into blood vessels or lymphatics was present in all cases.’
    • ‘In addition, cancers can metastasize by penetrating into blood vessels, lymphatics, and body cavities.’
    • ‘These cells were found minimally invading the liver, by direct extension, but were readily found within the lumina of blood vessels and lymphatics.’


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘frenzied, mad’): from Latin lymphaticus ‘mad’, from Greek numpholēptos ‘seized by nymphs’; now associated with lymph, on the pattern of words such as spermatic.