AskDefine | Define medulla

Dictionary Definition



1 a white fatty substance that forms a medullary sheath around the axis cylinder of some nerve fibers [syn: myelin, myeline]
2 lower or hindmost part of the brain; continuous with spinal cord; (`bulb' is an old term for medulla oblongata); "the medulla oblongata is the most vital part of the brain because it contains centers controlling breathing and heart functioning" [syn: medulla oblongata, bulb]
3 the inner part of an organ or structure in plant or animal [ant: cortex] [also: medullae (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



Latin medulla ‘pith, marrow’, perhaps from medius.


IPA: /mɛ'dʌlə/


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



  1. marrow


Derived terms

Extensive Definition

Medulla refers to the middle of something, and derives from the Latin word for 'marrow' (the Latin equivalent of the Greek stem myelo). In medicine it refers to either bone marrow, the spinal cord, or more generally, the middle part of a structure (as opposed to the cortex). Examples of its use include: Non-medical uses of the term include:
medulla in German: Medulla
medulla in French: Cerveau (homonymie)
medulla in Galician: Medula
medulla in Russian: Мозг (значения)
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