Definition of tissue in US English:



  • 1Any of the distinct types of material of which animals or plants are made, consisting of specialized cells and their products.

    ‘inflammation is a reaction of living tissue to infection or injury’
    ‘the organs and tissues of the body’
    • ‘The walls may contain mucous glands, cartilage, elastic tissue and muscle.’
    • ‘Through this increase, delivery of oxygen to tissues should rise, thus improving tissue oxygenation and cell function.’
    • ‘First, through their deliquescence of the tissue, they create a physically hospitable environment for larvae and adults.’
    • ‘They can cause extensive damage and severe lesions by entering the root and migrating through the tissue while they feed.’
    • ‘Unlike other lymphoid tissue, red blood cells flow through it.’
    • ‘This technique has been used for many tissues, including neural and cardiac tissue and cartilage.’
    • ‘The baby is born with a fistula tissue which can connect the esophagus with the trachea.’
    • ‘Either it has been replaced with scar tissue or the cells have been damaged.’
    • ‘The infiltrate was seen deep, involving the skeletal muscle and adipose tissue.’
    • ‘Wearing a mask to accelerate his oxygen intake, he sometimes would be joined by a therapist who worked on his leg, massaging the tissue.’
    • ‘The microscope could be mechanically translated deeper into the tissue to image remote structures.’
    • ‘But when a patient has a cancer removed, and the tissue is sent to me for diagnosis and testing, what exactly does it mean to say I must have the patient's consent?’
    • ‘Scans revealed the thin layer of bone behind the cheek which supports the eye had perished and all the tissue had disappeared through a hole to the sinuses.’
    • ‘The team now aim to improve the quality of the tissue grown in the lab, to make it more comparable with that of a young animal.’
    • ‘In the meantime, the remaining general surgeons obtain lymph nodes and spleen tissue samples for further laboratory studies.’
    • ‘Several green fluorescence protein probes that could genetically be distributed throughout the tissue might be useful in this regard.’
    • ‘It all started when my vein was ‘tissued’ - my IV tube slipped out of the vein and the medicine was pumped into the tissue by mistake.’
    • ‘For example, brain and hematopoietic stem cells give rise only to neural tissue and blood cells, respectively.’
    • ‘The current treatment involves taking skin samples from unaffected areas and putting them through a meshing machine to expand the tissue.’
    • ‘Subcutaneous adipose tissue and skeletal muscle mass, however, were the same in both groups.’
    matter, material, substance, stuff
    View synonyms
  • 2Tissue paper.

    1. 2.1 A disposable piece of absorbent paper, used especially as a handkerchief or for cleaning the skin.
      • ‘As she was trying to clean up the mess, using a box of tissues, she heard the honking of a horn behind her.’
      • ‘Instead, take a clean tissue, pour rubbing alcohol onto it, dab, and wipe your face with it.’
      • ‘You're going to get involved in it and bring your handkerchief or a tissue or two.’
      • ‘In fact, even using a handkerchief or a tissue at the table to blow, rather than to blot discreetly, would be offensive.’
      • ‘Quickly she left the room to go search for a clean tissue to wipe the cut.’
      • ‘She took a tissue from a dispenser, carefully shifted her goggles and dabbed her eyes dry, then tossed the tissue in the medical waste receptacle.’
      • ‘Remember to throw the tissue away immediately after use.’
      • ‘To touch up make-up to get rid of shine, gently press a dry tissue to your skin to absorb excess grease, or use grease-absorbing make-up tissues.’
      • ‘There's a lot in modern life for which to be thankful and the invention and availability of paper tissues is high on the list.’
      • ‘Wipe the baggy clean with a tissue and start over with a new picture.’
      • ‘On one side of the chair, a box of tissues; on the other side, a waste paper basket.’
      • ‘People should keep their hands clean and use tissues to cover coughs and sneezes.’
      • ‘I mean, who in their right mind thinks they can sell a box of tissues for ten quid?’
      • ‘There are flowers everywhere: on a pair of sandals, on a box of tissues, in vivid bloom on the top of a lavatory.’
      • ‘For a portable and convenient inhalant put one drop each of the same oils on a tissue or handkerchief and inhale whenever needed to ease laboured breathing and a stuffy nose.’
      • ‘Because I didn't have a handkerchief or a tissue of any kind, I wrapped the bottom of my shirt around my hand and wiped his eyes.’
      • ‘Your nose is blocked by sudden untapped reserves of mucus, so it's lucky you keep a box of paper tissues beside your bed.’
      • ‘The only thing lacking are moist tissues to clean fingers with after eating the ribs.’
      • ‘She found herself blushing at the compliment and in an effort to deflect his attention from her red cheeks, pulled a clean tissue from her pocket and started to dab at the damp spot.’
      • ‘In other news, I have a box of tissues here that I bought upstairs earlier to help with my snotty nose.’
      tissue paper, wrapping paper
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Rich or fine material of a delicate or gauzy texture.
      as modifier ‘the blue and silver tissue sari’
      • ‘Elements from the paintings have been picked up to create a collection of saris and drapes in brocades, georgettes, tissue and jacquard crepe de chine.’
      gauze, gossamer, chiffon
      View synonyms
  • 3in singular An intricate structure or network made from a number of connected items.

    ‘such scandalous stories are a tissue of lies’
    • ‘If what he says is a tissue of lies, he is a megalomaniac.’
    • ‘The case against them, as this book makes clear, is a tissue of lies.’
    • ‘It's called slander, and if your trashing is a tissue of lies that ends up harming your competitor's business, you can be sued successfully.’
    • ‘It responds to a fault line in Irish society that had been to a degree filmed over by a tissue of lies for a long time, masking the true reek of its corruption and, yes, evil.’
    • ‘In fact, the whole thing sounds like a tissue of lies from beginning to end.’
    • ‘It relies for its maintenance upon an infinitely complex and delicate tissue of relations and activities, some humble and others grand.’
    • ‘‘He knows of the existence of this file which is nothing but a tissue of lies,’ said his assistant.’
    • ‘In other words, what we are looking at is a CIA front company, designed to act as an owner of record for the plane and provide a tissue of commercial cover to its activities.’
    • ‘It has proved to be nothing more than a tissue of lies and falsehoods.’
    • ‘They all worked together and had concocted a tissue of lies.’
    • ‘‘Anyone who knows me will recognise the orchestrated campaign of character assassination was a tissue of lies,’ he said.’
    • ‘When it surfaced three days later, a Mississippi jury tried to do its part by burying his story under a tissue of lies and misrepresentations.’
    • ‘Did you also know that you can't believe anything you read in the press, because it is all a tissue of lies?’
    • ‘In his twisted world, this mild exposition is a tissue of lies, misrepresentations, and abuse of power.’
    • ‘It is also true that the reasons authoritatively given for the wars, as opposed to those concocted by their left-wing supporters, were a tissue of lies.’
    • ‘Instead I watched as a war was launched with a tissue of lies, and as innocents died needlessly.’
    • ‘It's Michael Stipe on his back, singing through a gauzy tissue of metaphors and soft, honest statements.’
    • ‘What was said was a tissue of lies - most particularly, when I was not here to defend myself.’
    • ‘They've uncovered some of the tissue of evasions and deceptions.’
    • ‘However, a closer look at the tissue of the dream reveals the most precarious of balances between the concerns of the individual and those of the family and community.’
    web, network, nexus, maze, tangle, knot, complex, mass, conglomeration, set, series, chain
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French tissu ‘woven’, past participle of tistre, from Latin texere ‘to weave’. The word originally denoted a rich material, often interwoven with gold or silver threads, later (mid 16th century) any woven fabric, hence the notion of ‘intricacy’.