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

  • n. A small angular cavity or pit, such as a honeycomb cell.
  • n. A tooth socket in the jawbone.
  • n. A tiny, thin-walled, capillary-rich sac in the lungs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place. Also called air sac.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small cavity or pit.
  • n. an anatomical structure that has the form of a hollow cavity
  • n. a small air sac in the lungs, where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged with the blood.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A cell in a honeycomb.
  • n. A small cavity in a coral, shell, or fossil.
  • n. A small depression, sac, or vesicle, as the socket of a tooth, the air cells of the lungs, the ultimate saccules of glands, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In general, any little cell, pit, cavity, fossa, or socket, as one of the cells of a honeycomb, etc. Also called alveole.
  • n. Specifically, in zoology: The socket of a tooth; the pit in a jaw-bone in which a tooth is inserted.
  • n. An air-cell; one of the compartments, about one hundredth of an inch in diameter, which line the infundibula and alveolar passages of the lungs.
  • n. One of the pits or compartments in the mucous membrane of the second stomach of a ruminant; a cell of ”honeycomb” tripe. See cut under ruminant.
  • n. A certain vacant space in the sarcode of a radiolarian, either within or without the capsule. Pascoe.
  • n. A cell or pit in certain fossils, as in an alveolite.
  • n. One of the ultimate follicles of a racemose gland. See acinus, 2 .
  • n. One of the five hollow cuneate calcareous dentigerous pieces which enter into the composition of the complex dentary apparatus or oral skeleton of a sea-urchin. See lantern of Aristotle (under lantern), and cuts under clypeastrid and Echinoidea.
  • n.

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

  • n. a tiny sac for holding air in the lungs; formed by the terminal dilation of tiny air passageways
  • n. a bony socket in the alveolar ridge that holds a tooth


Latin, small hollow, diminutive of alveus, a hollow, from alvus, belly.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin alveolus, a diminutive of alveus ("a tray, trough, basin"), from alvus ("the belly, the stomach, bowels, womb, etc."). (Wiktionary)


  • The light from the Proteus penetrated through what seemed to him a vast thickness of tissue and in its muted intensity, the alveolus was a tremendous cavern, with walls that glinted moistly and distantly.

    Fantastic Voyage

  • At the end of each bronchiole are tiny sacs called alveoli, each one of them lined with a thin layer of fluid that keeps each alveolus open.

    You Raising Your Child

  • When a fertilized egg is laid by the queen bee in an ordinary alveolus and the larva is fed with standard food, a small, sterile female, a worker bee, is born.

    Science's Awesome Frontier

  • But when an egg with a similar genetic code is laid in a larger alveolus and the larva is fed a special food -- the royal jelly -- the resulting insect is a queen bee, a larger, fertile female.

    Science's Awesome Frontier

  • Initially growing downwards – like any normal mammalian upper canine – it is then rotated as the alveolus itself turns to force the tooth upwards, and it eventually emerges from the dorsal surface of the snout.

    The deer-pig, the Raksasa, the only living anthracothere… welcome to the world of babirusas

  • Elizabeth you siren me, coriander. glasswort you alveolus me, chocks.

    Spam, Spam, Spam and Spoetry

  • The commercial ethylchlorid, which is obtained in tubes, is then directed both upon the labial and lingual side of the alveolus of the tooth to be extracted.


  • Blood gases are excreted by passive diffusion from the blood into the alveolus, following a concentration gradient.

    Excretion of toxicants

  • A adenoids: pads of immune tissue located behind the nose and nasal cavity. alveolus: gums of the mouth. amniocentesis: a way of checking a pregnancy to see if the fetus has some birth problems, including chromosomal disorders, biochemical disorders and gene abnormalities.


  • Especially dangerous is air-transmittable stone dust, which can cut the pulmonary alveolus in the lungs when inhaled.

    2.1 Safety kit

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.