[hahy-luh m]
noun, plural hi·la [hahy-luh] /ˈhaɪ lə/.
  1. Botany.
    1. the mark or scar on a seed produced by separation from its funicle or placenta.
    2. the nucleus of a granule of starch.
  2. Mycology. a mark or scar on a spore at the point of attachment to the spore-bearing structure.
  3. Anatomy. the region at which the vessels, nerves, etc., enter or emerge from a part.

Origin of hilum

1650–60; < New Latin; Latin: little thing, trifle; see nil
Related formshi·lar, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of hilum

British Dictionary definitions for hilum


noun plural -la (-lə)
  1. botany
    1. a scar on the surface of a seed marking its point of attachment to the seed stalk (funicle)
    2. the nucleus of a starch grain
  2. a deep fissure or depression on the surface of a bodily organ around the point of entrance or exit of vessels, nerves, or ducts

Word Origin for hilum

C17: from Latin: trifle; see nihil
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 hilum

Latin, literally "little thing, shred, trifle." Related: Hilar.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hilum in Medicine


n. pl. hi•la (-lə)
  1. A depression or slit-like opening through which nerves, ducts, or blood vessels enter and leave in an organ or a gland.porta
Related formshilar (-lər) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

hilum in Science


Plural hila
  1. A mark or scar on a seed, such as a bean, showing where it was formerly attached to the plant. The hilum indicates the point of attachment of the funiculus.
  2. A depression or opening through which nerves, ducts, or blood vessels pass in an organ or a gland, as in the medial aspect of the lungs or the kidneys .
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.