noun, plural fistulas, fistulae [fis-choo-lee] .
Pathology. a narrow passage or duct formed by disease or injury, as one leading from an abscess to a free surface, or from one cavity to another.
Surgery. an opening made into a hollow organ, as the bladder or eyeball, for drainage.
Veterinary Pathology. any of various suppurative inflammations, as in the withers of a horse (fistulous withers) characterized by the formation of passages or sinuses through the tissues and to the surface of the skin.
Obsolete. a pipe, as a flute.

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin: pipe, tube, fistula Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fistula (ˈfɪstjʊlə)
n , pl -las, -lae
1.  pathol an abnormal opening between one hollow organ and another or between a hollow organ and the surface of the skin, caused by ulceration, congenital malformation, etc
2.  obsolete any musical wind instrument; a pipe
[C14: from Latin: pipe, tube, hollow reed, ulcer]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"long, narrow ulcer," late 14c., from L. fistula "pipe, ulcer," of uncertain origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

fistula fis·tu·la (fĭs'chə-lə)
n. pl. fis·tu·las or fis·tu·lae (-lē')
An abnormal passage from a hollow organ to the body surface, or from one organ to another.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
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