• synonyms


[am-puhl-uh, -poo l-uh]
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noun, plural am·pul·lae [am-puhl-ee, -poo l-ee] /æmˈpʌl i, -ˈpʊl i/.
  1. Anatomy. a dilated portion of a canal or duct, especially of the semicircular canals of the ear.
  2. Zoology, Botany. any flask-shaped structure.
  3. Ecclesiastical.
    1. a vessel for the wine and water used at the altar.
    2. a vessel for holding consecrated oil.
  4. a two-handled bottle having a somewhat globular shape, made of glass or earthenware, used by the ancient Romans for holding oil, wine, or perfumes.
  5. Ichthyology. ampulla of Lorenzini.
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Origin of ampulla

< New Latin, Latin, equivalent to amphor(a) amphora + -la diminutive suffix, with normal vowel reduction and Greek ph rendered as p
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for ampulla

Historical Examples

  • At the base of each tube-foot there is a globular reservoir, or ampulla.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide

    Augusta Foote Arnold

  • Ampullaceous, swelling out like a bottle or bladder (ampulla).

  • F—Iron tripod, in which the ampulla is usually placed when there are not many particles of gold to be parted from the silver.

    De Re Metallica

    Georgius Agricola

  • If an ampulla be inflated and then pressed, the corresponding tube-foot will be seen to extend.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide

    Augusta Foote Arnold

  • We remember that at the time of the Revolution the ampulla containing the sacred oil was shivered into fragments.

British Dictionary definitions for ampulla


noun plural -pullae (-ˈpʊliː)
  1. anatomy the dilated end part of certain ducts or canals, such as the end of a uterine tube
  2. Christianity
    1. a vessel for containing the wine and water used at the Eucharist
    2. a small flask for containing consecrated oil
  3. a Roman two-handled bottle for oil, wine, or perfume
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Derived Formsampullaceous (ˌæmpʊˈleɪʃəs) or ampullaceal, adjectiveampullar (æmˈpʊlə) or ampullary (æmˈpʊlərɪ), adjective

Word Origin

C16: from Latin, diminutive of amphora
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

Word Origin and History for ampulla


late 14c., type of globular ancient Roman vessel; see ampoule.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ampulla in Medicine


(ăm-pulə, -pŭlə)
n. pl. am•pul•lae (-pulē, -pŭlē)
  1. A dilated portion of a canal or duct, as in the semicircular canal of the ear.
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Related formsam•pullar adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.