a small node, knot, or knob.
a small, rounded mass or lump.
Botany. a tubercle.

1590–1600; < Latin nōdulus a little knot, equivalent to nōd(us) node + -ulus -ule Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
nodule (ˈnɒdjuːl)
1.  a small knot, lump, or node
2.  Also called: root nodule any of the knoblike outgrowths on the roots of clover and many other legumes: contain bacteria involved in nitrogen fixation
3.  anatomy any small node or knoblike protuberance
4.  a small rounded lump of rock or mineral substance, esp in a matrix of different rock material
[C17: from Latin nōdulus, from nōdus knot]

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

1600, from L. nodulus "small knot," dim. of nodus "knot."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

nodule nod·ule (nŏj'ōōl)

  1. A small node.

  2. A small mass of tissue or aggregation of cells.

nod'u·lar (nŏj'ə-lər) or nod'u·lose' (-lōs') or nod'u·lous (-ləs) 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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
nodule   (nŏj'l)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A small, usually hard mass of tissue in the body.

  2. A small, knoblike outgrowth found on the roots of many legumes, such as alfalfa, beans, and peas. Nodules grow after the roots have been infected with nitrogen-fixing bacteria of the genus Rhizobium. See more at legume.

  3. A small, rounded lump of a mineral or mixture of minerals that is distinct from and usually harder than the surrounding rock or sediment. Nodules often form by replacement of a small part of the rocks in which they form.

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