am·​pul·​la | \ am-ˈpu̇-lə How to pronounce ampulla (audio) , ˈam-ˌpyü-lə How to pronounce ampulla (audio) \
plural ampullae\ am-​ˈpu-​(ˌ)lē How to pronounce ampulla (audio) , -​ˌlī , ˈam-​ˌpyü-​ \

Definition of ampulla

1 : a glass or earthenware flask with a globular body and two handles used especially by the ancient Romans to hold ointment, perfume, or wine
2 : a saccular anatomical swelling or pouch

Other Words from ampulla

ampullary \ am-​ˈpu̇-​lər-​ē How to pronounce ampulla (audio) , ˈam-​pyə-​ˌler-​ē \ adjective

Examples of ampulla in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Another volunteer recently unearthed a slightly flattened ampulla, or small vessel created in the style of Roman jugs used by pilgrims to carry holy water or oil. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ampulla.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ampulla

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ampulla

borrowed from Latin, going back to *amporela, diminutive of amphora amphora; (sense 2) borrowed from Medieval Latin, going back to Latin

Note: See also ampoule.

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Time Traveler for ampulla

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The first known use of ampulla was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Ampulla.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for ampulla


am·​pul·​la | \ am-ˈpu̇-lə How to pronounce ampulla (audio) , ˈam-ˌpyü-lə How to pronounce ampulla (audio) \
plural ampullae\ -​ˌlē How to pronounce ampulla (audio) \

Medical Definition of ampulla

: a saccular anatomic swelling or pouch: as
a : the dilatation containing a patch of sensory epithelium at one end of each semicircular canal of the ear
b : one of the dilatations of the lactiferous tubules of the mammary glands that serve as reservoirs for milk
c(1) : the middle portion of the fallopian tube
(2) : the distal dilatation of a vas deferens near the opening of the duct leading from the seminal vesicle
d : a terminal dilatation of the rectum just before it joins the anal canal

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