from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A long, narrow surgical knife for minor incisions.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A small, narrow surgical knife, with a straight, convex, or concave edge, and a sharp or blunt point, used for making incisions and for other purposes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A surgical instrument consisting of a slender knife, either straight or curved, generally used by introducing it beneath the part to be divided, and cutting towards the surface.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A narrow-bladed surgical knife.


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

[French bistouri, perhaps from Italian dialectal bistori, from bistorino, of Pistoia, from Latin Pistōrium, Pistoia.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French bistouri. Compare Spanish bisturí.


  • The first who applied bleeding as speedily as possible to a patient under apoplexy; the first who conceived the idea of plunging a bistoury into the bladder to extract the stone from it, and of closing up the wound; the first who found out the method of stopping gangrene in any part of the human frame, were undoubtedly men almost divine, and totally unlike the physicians of

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • If you see him very savagely cut up in "The Revolver," you will recognize the kindly hands which held the bistoury, scalpel, and tenaculum, and the gentleman who wept while he wounded.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 04, No. 21, July, 1859

  • Relating to bile, the bile ducts, or the gallbladder; transporting bile. bistoury

    Surgical Anatomy

  • "Lancet, probe, trocar, bistoury, tourniquet," -- mentioning the collection, while he passed his fingers affectionately along the small sharp knives.

    Idle Hour Stories

  • Whilst operating for the reduction of inguinal hernia by the "taxis" or the bistoury, who is there that feels anxiety concerning the origin or the distinctiveness of the "spermatic fascia?"

    Surgical Anatomy

  • Then with a hidden bistoury or a knife concealed in

    The Veterinarian

  • In distension of the superficial bursa, after clipping the hair over a liberal area and preparing the skin by thoroughly cleansing and painting with tincture of iodin, the capsule is incised with a bistoury.

    Lameness of the Horse Veterinary Practitioners' Series, No. 1

  • A probe-pointed bistoury is now to be slid along the director, and with its edge turned upwards and inwards, according to the seat of stricture, the following mentioned parts are to be divided -- viz., the falciform process, 6; the inner wall of the canal, which is continuous with the fascia propria, 9;

    Surgical Anatomy

  • Perhaps the most heroic consists in opening the joint capsule with a bistoury or with the actual cautery.

    Lameness of the Horse Veterinary Practitioners' Series, No. 1

  • The bistoury is next to be carried backwards through the stricture till it enters that part of the urethra (usually dilated in such cases) which intervenes between the seat of obstruction and the neck of the bladder.

    Surgical Anatomy


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  • "...they laid out all the material that might be needed...: lint, bandages, splints; and purely surgical instruments such as catlings, bistouries and retractors..."

    --P. O'Brian, The Commodore, 12

    A Sea of Words: bistoury: a scalpel that is made in any of three forms: straight, curved, or probe-pointed. (p. 109)

    March 16, 2008

  • ". . .attacking that Bassalian titan, attacking it again and again, puncturing its invincibility, implanting in it, again and again, a harpoon as sharp as a bistoury. . ." Gilbert Adair translation of Georges Perec's La Disparition

    August 11, 2010