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[uh-mig-duh-luh] /əˈmɪg də lə/
noun, plural amygdalae
[uh-mig-duh-lee] /əˈmɪg dəˌli/ (Show IPA).
an almond-shaped part, as a tonsil.
a ganglion of the limbic system adjoining the temporal lobe of the brain and involved in emotions of fear and aggression.
Origin of amygdala
before 950; < Medieval Latin: almond, tonsil, Latin: almond < Greek amygdálē; replacing Middle English amygdal, Old English amigdal almond < Latin amygdalon < Greek amýgdalon; cf. almond Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for amygdala
  • The amygdala is a peanut-size nucleus found deep in the midbrain.
  • Each lobe includes an amygdala and a seahorse-shaped structure called the hippocampus.
  • If you want to know terror, you must travel deep inside the brain to the almond-shaped region known as the amygdala.
  • With the amygdala constantly contradicting the neocortex, your gray matter tends to see lots of red alerts.
  • Since the amygdala is known to be involved in processing emotion, that is not altogether startling.
  • Linear regression revealed a positive correlation in amygdala size with both social network size and complexity.
  • For decades, neuroscientists have focused on the brain's fear center, the amygdala.
  • The amygdala integrates the information flow from the olfactory bulb cells and projects to areas governing behavior responses.
  • The hippocampus is known to play a role in long-term memory formation, while the amygdala is an emotional center in the brain.
  • It acts to control and suppress bodily fear responses, and sends nerve projections into the amygdala that shut it down.
British Dictionary definitions for amygdala


noun (pl) -lae (-ˌliː)
(anatomy) an almond-shaped part, such as a tonsil or a lobe of the cerebellum
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin: almond
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
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Word Origin and History for amygdala

"the tonsils," 1540s (amygdal), from Latin, from Greek amygdale "almond" (see almond). The anatomical use is as a direct translation of Arabic al-lauzatani "the two tonsils," literally "the two almonds," so called by Arabic physicians for fancied resemblance. From early 15c. as amygdales "tonsils;" as "almonds" from mid-12c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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amygdala in Medicine

amygdala a·myg·da·la (ə-mĭg'də-lə)
n. pl. a·myg·da·lae (-lē)

  1. An almond-shaped mass of gray matter in the front part of the temporal lobe of the cerebrum. Also called amygdaloid nucleus.

  2. The cerebellar tonsil.

  3. Any of the lymphatic tonsils.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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amygdala in Science
Plural amygdalae (ə-mĭg'də-lē)
An almond-shaped mass of gray matter in the front part of the temporal lobe of the cerebrum that is part of the limbic system and is involved in the processing and expression of emotions, especially anger and fear.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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