So, pus is just a concentration of dead white blood cells that results from your body detecting an infection or a foreign body that needs to be removed and sending a whole bunch of white blood cells to fight it, right?

Why aren't they called pus cells, then, if pus is the form they take when they're concentrated enough to be visible to the naked eye?

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    $\begingroup$ Blood clots, among other things. Why don't we just call red blood cells "clot cells"? Because that's not all they do. Just like WBCs. $\endgroup$ Dec 8, 2017 at 4:17
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    $\begingroup$ Because they're the cells that make up your blood, and they're why it's red when you cut yourself and you can see it flowing? Same reason why muscle cells are called muscle cells and nerve cells are called muscle cells. But you can't see the white blood cells, so why aren't they named after the tissue that they form? Also, aren't the platelets the ones that cause the clots, anyway? $\endgroup$
    – nick012000
    Dec 8, 2017 at 4:21
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    $\begingroup$ They are called white blood cells, because they look white when purified. So in fact, their naming is following your expectations. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_blood_cell#Etymology $\endgroup$
    – skymningen
    Dec 11, 2017 at 12:56

1 Answer 1


Pus is comprised of two types of cells - neutrophils and macrophages. These are cells sent by the body to combat pathogens.

There are a variety of other leukocytes(WBCs)(like lymphocytes, which is another broad term among many others) in the body that aren't part of pus which is why they aren't called pus cells.


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