Definition of thymus in English:


(also thymus gland)


  • A lymphoid organ situated in the neck of vertebrates which produces T-lymphocytes for the immune system. The human thymus becomes much smaller at the approach of puberty.

    • ‘Primary lymphoid organs in the thymus and bone marrow constitute the major site of lymphocyte development.’
    • ‘The lymphatic system consists of lymph nodes and vessels, the thymus, spleen and bone marrow.’
    • ‘About 10% of patients have a benign tumor of the thymus gland, a lymph gland that usually disappears at puberty.’
    • ‘The liver, spleen, lungs, kidneys, thymus, adrenals, and stomach were examined histopathologically and were all found to be normal.’
    • ‘Leukocytes are produced or stored in many locations throughout the body, including the thymus, spleen, and bone marrow.’


Late 16th century (denoting a growth or tumour resembling a bud): from Greek thumos ‘excrescence like a thyme bud, thymus gland’.