Definition of membrane in English:



Anatomy Zoology
  • 1A pliable sheetlike structure acting as a boundary, lining, or partition in an organism.

    • ‘Fibers in the wing membrane added structural support and stiffness.’
    • ‘Osmosis is important in food preparation because the cell walls of living organisms are semipermeable membranes.’
    • ‘Carefully slice away the thin membrane which covers the monkfish tail, to reveal the firm white meat.’
    • ‘Our brains are literally made of fat and our nerves are sheathed in thin membranes of it.’
    • ‘Structurally it is a membrane surrounding the heart, and physiologically it protects the heart.’
    layer, laminate, sheet, skin, film, veil, diaphragm, partition, drum, tissue, pellicle, integument, overlay, covering, coat
    peritoneum, amnion, caul, hymen
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A thin pliable sheet or skin of various kinds.
      ‘the concrete should include a membrane to prevent water seepage’
      • ‘The process involves forcing water through very fine membranes small enough to trap molecules of pollutants, but large enough to allow the water to pass.’
      • ‘The cost of labor is virtually the same as for the thinner membrane, but puncture resistance is greatly enhanced.’
      • ‘So many layers of colour have been piled on the canvas that a rubbery membrane of paint hangs over the sharp edges of the frame.’
      • ‘The ridge of the roof is a water channel from which water overflows onto the thin roofing membrane of stone and glass.’
      • ‘Because of surface tension, the water does not fall out of the tiny hole, although a thin membrane may be added, just to be safe.’
    2. 1.2Biology
      A microscopic double layer of lipids and proteins that bounds cells and organelles and forms structures within cells.
      • ‘The lateral organization and dynamics of lipids and proteins in membranes is critical to many cellular processes.’
      • ‘The interaction of electric fields with lipid membranes and cells has been extensively studied in the last decades.’
      • ‘This phospholipid bilayer is the fundamental structure of all biological membranes.’
      • ‘Other organelles have double membranes, consisting of two phospholipid bilayers.’
      • ‘Although there are, as far as is known, no quantitative data, hydrogen peroxide is usually thought to move rapidly across the membranes of cells and organelles.’


Late Middle English: from Latin membrana, from membrum limb.