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[mak-yuh-luh] /ˈmæk yə lə/
noun, plural maculae
[mak-yuh-lee] /ˈmæk yəˌli/ (Show IPA)
a spot or blotch, especially on one's skin; macule.
  1. an opaque spot on the cornea.
  2. Also called macula lutea, yellow spot. an irregularly oval, yellow-pigmented area on the central retina, containing color-sensitive rods and the central point of sharpest vision.
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin: spot, blemish
Related forms
macular, adjective
multimacular, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for macula
  • The macula is the part of the eye that is responsible for sight in the center of the field of vision.
  • The macula sits in the center of the retina of the eye.
  • The doctor will look for specific changes in the macula and blood vessels.
  • Central vision becomes severely affected if the macula, the part of the retina responsible for fine vision, becomes detached.
  • While cataracts can be removed surgically, there is no way to reverse damage to the macula, the area in the center of the retina.
  • These blood vessels leak blood and fluid and cause the retina and the macula to swell.
British Dictionary definitions for macula


noun (anatomy) (pl) -ulae (-jʊˌliː), -ules
a small spot or area of distinct colour, esp the macula lutea
any small discoloured spot or blemish on the skin, such as a freckle
Derived Forms
macular, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin
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 macula

plural maculae, from Latin macula "spot, stain," used of various spots (sunspots, markings on minerals, etc.), of uncertain origin. Especially the macula lutea in the eye.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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macula in Medicine

macula mac·u·la (māk'yə-lə)
n. pl. mac·u·las or mac·u·lae (-lē')

  1. Also mac·ule (-yōōl') A spot, stain, or blemish, especially an area of discoloration on the skin caused by excess or lack of pigment.

  2. A small area distinguishable from the surrounding tissue.

  3. The macula lutea.

mac'u·lar adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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macula in Science
Plural maculae (māk'yə-lē') or maculas
  1. A minute yellowish area located near the center of the retina of the eye, at which visual perception is most acute.

  2. A discolored spot on the skin that is not elevated above the surface.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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