noun. the procedure by which solid particles, inclusive of foreign compounds, food pieces, and other cells, are engulfed by cells referred to as phagocytes. The compounds are encompassed by membrane, forming a vacuole in the phagocyte which fuses with a lysosome, an organelle made up of enzymes which digest the engulfed materials. Specific white blood cells function as phagocytes as part of the immune reaction.
PHAGOCYTOSIS: "Phagocytosis can take anywhere from moments to hours or days to initiate following the introduction of a harmful substance into the body."