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[muh-duhl-uh] /məˈdʌl ə/
noun, plural medullas, medullae
[muh-duhl-ee] /məˈdʌl i/ (Show IPA)
  1. the marrow of the bones.
  2. the soft, marrowlike center of an organ, as the kidney or adrenal gland.
  3. medulla oblongata.
Botany. the pith of plants.
1635-45; < Latin: marrow, pith Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for medulla
  • But since other body tissues also produce catecholamines, life can go on even if the adrenal medulla fails.
  • Adrenal medulla, catecholamines, and pheochromocytoma.
  • The medulla is the location of the latter events in thymocyte development.
British Dictionary definitions for medulla


noun (pl) -las, -lae (-liː)
  1. the innermost part of an organ or structure
  2. short for medulla oblongata
(botany) another name for pith (sense 4)
Derived Forms
medullary, medullar, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: marrow, pith, probably from medius middle
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 medulla
1651, "hindmost segment of the brain," from L., lit. "marrow," also "pith of plants," of unknown origin, perhaps related to or influenced by medius "middle" (but cf. also O.Ir. smiur, Welsh mer "marrow").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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medulla in Medicine

medulla me·dul·la (mĭ-dŭl'ə)
n. pl. me·dul·las or me·dul·lae (-dŭl'ē)
The inner core of certain organs or body structures, such as the marrow of bone. Also called medullary substance.

me·dul'lar or med'ul·lar'y (měd'l-ěr'ē, mə-dŭl'ə-rē) 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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medulla in Science
  (mĭ-dŭl'ə, mĭ-d'lə)   
Plural medullas or medullae (mĭ-dŭl'ē)
  1. See medulla oblongata.

  2. The central portion of an anatomical structure, such as the adrenal gland or the kidney.

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