from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A nearly round bottle with two handles used by the ancient Romans for wine, oil, or perfume.
  • n. Ecclesiastical A vessel for consecrated wine or holy oil.
  • n. Anatomy A small dilatation in a canal or duct, especially one in the semicircular canal of the ear.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A Roman two-handled vessel.
  • n. A vessel for containing consecrated wine or oil.
  • n. The dilated end of a duct.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A narrow-necked vessel having two handles and bellying out like a jug.
  • n.
  • n. A cruet for the wine and water at Mass.
  • n. The vase in which the holy oil for chrism, unction, or coronation is kept.
  • n. Any membranous bag shaped like a leathern bottle, as the dilated end of a vessel or duct; especially the dilations of the semicircular canals of the ear.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Roman antiquity, a bottle with a narrow neck and a body more or less nearly globular in shape, usually made of glass or earthenware, rarely of more valuable materials, and used, like the Greek aryballos, bombylios, etc., for carrying oil for anointing the body and for many other purposes.
  • n. 2. Eccles.: In the Roman Catholic Church, a cruet, regularly made of transparent glass, for holding the wine and water used at the altar. See ama. Also written amula. A vessel for holding the consecrated oil or chrism used in various church rites and at the coronation of kings.
  • n. In the middle ages, a small bottle-shaped flask, often of glass, sometimes of lead, used by travelers, and especially by pilgrims. Sometimes these were used as pilgrims' signs (which see, under pilgrim).
  • n. 4. In anat: The dilated part of the membranous semicircular canals in the ear. The enlargement of a galactophorous duct beneath the areola in the human mammary gland. Also called sinus.
  • n. 5. In botany, a small bladder or flask-shaped organ attached to the roots or immersed leaves of some aquatic plants, as in Utricularia (which see).
  • n. 6. In zoology: In Vermes, a terminal dilatation of the efferent seminal ducts, In Brachiopoda, one of the contractile mammillary processes of the sinuses of the pallial lobes, as in Lingula. In certain ducks, one of the chambers or dilatations of the tracheal tympanum or labyrinth. See tympanum. There may be but one ampulla, or there may be one on each side. [Little used in this sense.] In hydroid polyps, the cavity of a vesicular marginal body connected by a canal with the gastrovascular system. In echinoderms, one of the diverticula of the branched ambulacral canals; a sort of Polian vesicle of the ambulacral suckers
  • n. In Hydrocorallinæ, a pit formed in the cœnenchyma for the reception of gonophores.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a flask that has two handles; used by Romans for wines or oils
  • n. the dilated portion of a canal or duct especially of the semicircular canals of the ear


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English, from Latin, diminutive of amphora; see amphora.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin ampulla.


  • A catheter then is inserted where the bile duct opens into the intestine this is called the ampulla.


  • Each measures about 0.8 mm. in diameter, and presents a dilatation at one end, called the ampulla, which measures more than twice the diameter of the tube.

    X. The Organs of the Senses and the Common Integument. 1d. 4. The Internal Ear or Labyrinth

  • Each of these membranous canals possesses at one end, in an enlargement called the ampulla, a group of sense cells.

    The Dancing Mouse A Study in Animal Behavior

  • The Archbishop has the reliquary opened containing the holy ampulla, which is taken from a little chest of gold; he withdraws from it, by means of a golden needle, a particle which he mingles with the holy chrism on the patin.

    The Duchess of Berry and the Court of Charles X

  • Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere et cum illi pueri dicerent: Σίβυλλα τί θέλεις; respondebat illa: ἀποθανεῖν θέλω.

    Archive 2009-03-01

  • The advantage for pilgrims was that they could and did make their own brandea; by rubbing a piece of cloth against a holy tomb or by filling a small flask (ampulla) with holy water, they could take the holiness home with them.

    Reliquaries: Saints Preserve(d for) Us!

  • The legend relates that the holy oil used in crowning the French monarchs was brought down from Heaven by a dove bearing an ampulla at the Baptism of Clovis, the warring Salic Frank, by Bishop Remigius "Remi" at Reims on Christmas Day, A.D.

    Death Of Clovis 27 Nov, 511, First King of the Franks

  • They both laughed merrily while Frances moved on to gaze upon the ampulla and spoon.

    The Obedient Bride

  • One end of each canal, where it Joins the utricle, swells out to form an ampulla (am-pul'uh; "little vase" G, because of its shape).

    The Human Brain

  • 'Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Σίβυλλα, τί θέλεις; respondebat illa: ἀποθανεῖν θέλω.'

    The Student's Companion to Latin Authors


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  • "In echinoderms, one of the diverticula of the branched ambulacral canals; a sort of Polian vesicle of the ambulacral suckers." --Cent. Dict.

    October 4, 2011

  • "He felt the ampulla in his cheek—undying mortal sin except by casuistry—and although he had long thought prayer in time of danger indecent, prayers sang in his mind, the long hypnotic cadences of plainchant imploring protection for his love."

    —Patrick O'Brian, The Surgeon's Mate, 366

    Plural ampullae.

    February 9, 2008