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

  • n. The inner core of certain organs or body structures, such as the marrow of bone.
  • n. The medulla oblongata.
  • n. See myelin.
  • n. Botany The pith in the stems or roots of certain plants.
  • n. Botany The central portion of a thallus in certain lichens and red or brown algae.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The soft inner part of something, especially the pith of a fruit.
  • n. The inner substance of various organs and structures, especially the marrow of bones.
  • n. The medulla oblongata.
  • n. The internal tissue of a plant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Marrow; pith; hence, essence.
  • n. The marrow of bones; the deep or inner portion of an organ or part; ; specifically, the medula oblongata.
  • n. A soft tissue, occupying the center of the stem or branch of a plant; pith.
  • n. See medulla oblongata.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In anatomy and zoology: Marrow. [Little used.]
  • n. The so-called spinal marrow; the spinal cord, or central axis of the nervous system; the myelon: more fully called medulla spinalis.
  • n. The hindmost segment of the brain, continuous with the spinal cord; the afterbrain or metencephalon; the oblongata: more fully called medulla oblongata.
  • n. The ventral ganglionic chain of the nervous system of some invertebrates, as Vermes, supposed to be analogous to the spinal cord of vertebrates.
  • n. The pith of a hair.
  • n. The myelin, or white and fatty covering of the axis-cylinder of a nerve.
  • n. In botany, the pith of plants.
  • n. The semi-fluid endosarc of a protozoön.

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

  • n. the inner part of an organ or structure in plant or animal
  • n. a white fatty substance that forms a medullary sheath around the axis cylinder of some nerve fibers
  • n. lower or hindmost part of the brain; continuous with spinal cord; (`bulb' is an old term for medulla oblongata)


Middle English, from Latin, perhaps alteration (influenced by medius, middle; see medial) of *merulla.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin medulla ‘pith, marrow’, perhaps from medius. (Wiktionary)


  • If you think of a piece of hair as a pencil, the medulla is the graphite, the cortex is the wood, and the paint on the outside is the cuticle.

    The Tenth Circle

  • It's very early, but they're specifically targeting in on the lowest part of the brain stem, known as the medulla (ph), figuring that there might be an abnormality in babies who die of SIDS versus other babies.

    CNN Transcript Nov 1, 2006

  • But looking at some data specifically at the lowest part of the brain stem called the medulla, looking at serotonin activity in that area.

    CNN Transcript Nov 1, 2006

  • The Latin word medulla (marrow) is used in much the same way as “mihi hæres in medullis” (Cicero); (very dear, my best friend, etc.) MARVIN.

  • These allowed him to make some significant discoveries about a section of the brain known as the medulla just at the top of the spinal cord.

    The Pawprints of History

  • The medulla is a canal running through the middle of a strand of some types of hair.

    A Lincoln Rhyme eBook Boxed Set

  • SCHWARTZMAN: Swallowing is controlled by the medulla, which is in that general area.

    CNN Transcript - Special Event: Former President Gerald Ford Remains in Stable Condition After Suffering Stroke - August 3, 2000

  • The medulla is the principal entrance for the body's supply of universal life force (AUM), and is directly connected with man's power of will, concentrated in the seventh or Christ Consciousness center (KUTASTHA) in the third eye between the eyebrows.

    Autobiography of a Yogi

  • The medulla is the principal entrance for the body's supply of universal life force (AUM), and is directly connected with man's power of will, concentrated in the seventh or Christ Consciousness center

    Autobiography of a Yogi

  • With disease or willful destruction of the cerebral tissue the personal initiative is affected -- the animal becomes more distinctly a mechanism; the cerebellum is probably concerned in the coordination of muscular movements; and the medulla is a centre for the higher and more complicated respiratory reflexes, yawning, coughing, and so on.

    Text Book of Biology, Part 1: Vertebrata


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