[boo l-uh, buhl-uh]

noun, plural bul·lae [boo l-ee, buhl-ee] /ˈbʊl i, ˈbʌl i/.

a seal attached to an official document, as a papal bull.
an ancient Roman pendant, consisting of a rounded box containing an amulet.
Pathology. a large vesicle.
Zoology. a blisterlike or bubblelike prominence of a bone, as that of the tympanic bone in the skull of certain mammals.

Origin of bulla

1840–50; < Latin: bubble, also stud, boss, knob (whence Medieval Latin bulla official seal)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bulla

Historical Examples of bulla

  • "But we're getting all we can out of the old hooker as it is," Bulla objected.

    The Pit Prop Syndicate

    Freeman Wills Crofts

  • Both Beamish and Bulla, borne down by the weight of numbers, had been secured.

    The Pit Prop Syndicate

    Freeman Wills Crofts

  • They were generally enclosed in a bulla, and suspended from the neck.


    H. Clifford Smith,

  • The bulla attains its maximum development in Chinchilla and Dipus.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton

    Sidney H. Reynolds

  • Bulleana (plates, fig. 247 to 253), contains the genera Bulla and Bulla.

    A Conchological Manual

    George Brettingham Sowerby

British Dictionary definitions for bulla


noun plural -lae (-liː)

a leaden seal affixed to a papal bull, having a representation of Saints Peter and Paul on one side and the name of the reigning pope on the other
an ancient Roman rounded metal or leather box containing an amulet, worn around the neck
pathol another word for blister (def. 1)
anatomy a rounded bony projection

Word Origin for bulla

C19: from Latin: round object, bubble
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 bulla

1876, from Latin bulla (plural bullae), literally "bubble" (see bull (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bulla in Medicine



n. pl. bul•lae (bulē)

A large blister or vesicle of pathological origin.
A bubblelike structure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.