• 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

beaker, jug, vial, urn, chalice, decanter, canteen, carafe, crock, glass, retort, jar, ewer, noggin, bag, bottle, fiasco, flagon, crystal, demijohn

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.