One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of the fingerlike or threadlike projections from the surface of certain membranous structures, typically serving to increase surface area and facilitate the passage of fluid or nutrients.
- ‘And the tiny hair-like projections on the cells - the villi (VIL-li) - shrink and may even disappear.’
- ‘Afterwards the samples were stained with haematoxylin-eosin to evaluate the number of villi, villous height and mucosal thickness and with PAS to identify mucous containing cells.’
- ‘The colon can be identified by its size and the absence of mucosal folds and villi; the inner surface is smooth.’
- ‘At this stage it is more or less spherical and covered with villi (frond-like protrusions); these provide a large surface area for exchange of gases, nutrients, water and waste with the maternal blood.’
- ‘The black stained villus projections are probably due to chronic smoke inhalation.’
- ‘Mutants were observed as non-staining ribbons on the surface of the villus.’
- ‘Taste is determined on the tongue by tiny projections, called villi, which are able to sense relative proportions of the four tastes: salt, sour, yucky and Frosties.’
- ‘Microscopic examination demonstrated hydropic degenerated villi with a circumferential trophoblastic cell proliferation and moderate atypia, consistent with a complete hydatidiform mole.’
- ‘Nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine through microscopically elongated villi.’
- ‘The tissue is sent to the laboratory where the fetal villi are dissected from the maternal decidua and either processed directly or cultured for chromosomal, DNA or biochemical analysis.’
Early 18th century: from Latin, literally ‘shaggy hair’.
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