[em-buh-luh s]

noun, plural em·bo·li [em-buh-lahy] /ˈɛm bəˌlaɪ/. Pathology.

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.

Nearby words

  1. embolism,
  2. embolite,
  3. embolization,
  4. embolize,
  5. embololalia,
  6. embolus ,
  7. emboly,
  8. embonpoint,
  9. embosk,
  10. embosom

Origin of embolus

1660–70; < Latin: piston < Greek émbolos stopper, equivalent to em- em-2 + bólos a throw, akin to bállein to throw

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for embolus

British Dictionary definitions for embolus


noun plural -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 circulationCompare thrombus

Word Origin for embolus

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

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

Medicine definitions for embolus



n. pl. em•bo•li (-lī′)

A mass, such as an air bubble, detached blood clot, or 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.

Science definitions for embolus



Plural emboli (ĕmbə-lī)

See embolism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.