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[em-buh-luh s] /ˈɛm bə ləs/
noun, plural emboli
[em-buh-lahy] /ˈɛm bəˌlaɪ/ (Show IPA).
undissolved material carried by the blood and impacted in some part of the vascular system, as thrombi or fragments of thrombi, tissue fragments, clumps of bacteria, protozoan parasites, fat globules, or gas bubbles.
Origin of embolus
1660-70; < Latin: piston < Greek émbolos stopper, equivalent to em- em-2 + bólos a throw, akin to bállein to throw Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for embolus
Historical Examples
  • There is sudden pain at the site of impaction of the embolus, and the pulses beyond are lost.

    Manual of Surgery Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles
  • When this artery is blocked close to its origin by an embolus or thrombus, total aphasia results.

  • Detachment of a portion of the thrombus, according to Hoare, may result in the lodgment of an embolus in the brain or kidneys.

    Lameness of the Horse John Victor Lacroix
  • And yet the mere naming of the affliction eased her, although she had no conception of what an embolus might be.

    The Price of Love Arnold Bennett
  • She had still no conception of what an embolus was; but she naturally assumed that Louis could define an embolus with exactitude.

    The Price of Love Arnold Bennett
  • An embolus occupied the pulmonary artery, resembling a blood-clot found in the left common and internal iliac veins.

  • Success has followed opening the artery and removing the embolus.

    Manual of Surgery Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles
  • At the post-mortem examination the left and right branches of the pulmonary artery contained an embolus.

  • As a matter of fact, Batsch under embolus crocatus first presents an unmistakable description and figure.

    The North American Slime-Moulds Thomas H. (Thomas Huston) MacBride
  • When an embolus becomes impacted at the bifurcation of the popliteal, if gangrene ensues it usually spreads well up the leg.

    Manual of Surgery Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles
British Dictionary definitions for embolus


noun (pl) -li (-ˌlaɪ)
material, such as part of a blood clot or an air bubble, that is transported by the blood stream until it becomes lodged within a small vessel and impedes the circulation Compare thrombus
Word Origin
C17: via Latin from Greek embolos stopper, from emballein to insert, from ballein to throw; see emblem
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for embolus

1660s, "stopper, wedge," from Latin embolus "piston of a pump," from Greek embolos "peg, stopper; anything pointed so as to be easily thrust in," also "a tongue (of land), beak (of a ship)," from emballein (see emblem). Medical sense is from 1866. Related: Embolic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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embolus in Medicine

embolus em·bo·lus (ěm'bə-ləs)
n. pl. em·bo·li (-lī')
A mass, such as an air bubble, a detached blood clot, or a foreign body, that travels in the bloodstream and lodges in a blood vessel, thus serving to obstruct or occlude such a vessel.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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embolus in Science
Plural emboli (ěm'bə-lī)
See embolism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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