- The definition of a gland is an organ or group of cells that releases substances or waste from the body.
An example of a gland is the thyroid.
- any organ or specialized group of cells that produces secretions, as insulin or bile, or excretions, as urine: some glands, as the liver and kidneys, have ducts that empty into an organ: the ductless (or endocrine) glands, as the thyroid and adrenals, secrete hormones
- loosely any similar structure that is not a true gland: lymph glands
- Bot. an organ or layer of cells that produces and secretes some substance
Origin of glandFrench glande ; from Old French glandre ; from Classical Latin glandula, tonsil, diminutive of glans (gen. glandis), acorn (; from Indo-European base an unverified form gwel-, oak, acorn from source Classical Greek balanos)
Origin of gland; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps
- a. Any of various organs or cell groups, such as the adrenal glands and the salivary glands, that are of endothelial origin and secrete a substance that is used or excreted by the body.b. Any of various organs, such as lymph nodes, that resemble true glands but perform a nonsecretory function.
- Botany An organ or a structure that secretes a substance.
Origin of glandFrench glande, from Old French glandre, alteration of Latin glandula, diminutive of glāns, gland-, acorn.
Origin of glandPerhaps akin to Scots glams, jaws of a vise, pincers, probably from variant of clam2.
- (zoology) An organ that synthesizes a substance, such as hormones or breast milk, and releases it, often into the bloodstream (endocrine gland) or into cavities inside the body or its outer surface (exocrine gland).
- (botany) A secretory structure on the surface of an organ.
19th century. Etymology unknown.