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

  • n. An abnormal duct or passage resulting from injury, disease, or a congenital disorder that connects an abscess, cavity, or hollow organ to the body surface or to another hollow organ.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An abnormal connection or passageway between organs or vessels that normally do not connect.
  • n. A tube, a pipe, or a hole.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A reed; a pipe.
  • n. A pipe for convejing water.
  • n. A permanent abnormal opening into the soft parts with a constant discharge; a deep, narrow, chronic abscess; an abnormal opening between an internal cavity and another cavity or the surface

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A reed; a pipe; a wind-instrument of music.
  • n. In the Roman Catholic Church, same as calamus, 4.
  • n. In pathology, a narrow passage or duct, formed by disease or injury, leading from an abscess to a free surface, or furnishing an abnormal means of egress from some normal cavity, as in vesicovaginal fistula.
  • n. [capitalized] [NL.] In zoology, a genus of polyps.
  • n. A tube or pipe which normally connects some internal part or organ of an animal with the surrounding air or water, as the trachea of an insect or the blow-hole of a whale.

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

  • n. an abnormal passage leading from a suppurating cavity to the body surface
  • n. a chronic inflammation of the withers of a horse


Middle English, from Latin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin fistula ("pipe, ulcer, catheter"), from findō ("cleave, divide, split"). (Wiktionary)



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