Definition of bulla in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbo͝olə/

noun (plural bullae /ˈbo͝olē/)

1 Medicine A bubblelike cavity filled with air or fluid, in particular.
Example sentences
  • The lesions are flaccid vesicles or bullae that are initially localized in oral mucosa and later spread randomly to other parts of the body.
  • Fluid aspirates taken from the bullae revealed gram-positive rods.
  • When bullae rupture, a dry, often black eschar may develop.
1.1A large blister containing serous fluid.
Example sentences
  • Within three weeks, his toes turned black and serous-filled bullae erupted.
  • The bullous form of impetigo presents as a large thin-walled bulla containing serous yellow fluid.
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda presents with photosensitivity, skin fragility, bruising, and vesicles and bullae that can become hemorrhagic.
1.2An abnormal air-filled cavity in the lung.
Early 19th century
Example sentences
  • In the early stages of the disease the alveolar walls appear perfectly normal while in the later stages, fibrosis of the alveolar wall with blebs and bullae is common.
  • Finding a large, ruptured emphysematous bulla makes resection mandatory.
  • Examination of the surgical specimen revealed a lobe of lung with focal hemorrhage and subpleural bullae.
2 Anatomy A rounded prominence.
Mid 19th century
Example sentences
  • The skulls of chinchilla rats have long and narrow rostra, a rounded braincase, enlarged bullae, and delicate zygomatic arches.
  • The prootic is a paired bone that forms the anterior lateral face of the auditory bulla.
  • The jugular process is enlarged and the tympanic projection is extended anteriorly from the ventral surface of the tympanic bulla.
3A round seal attached to a papal bull, typically made of lead.
Middle English
Example sentences
  • One venerable conjecture was that it began as a contemptuous reference to papal edicts known as bulls (from the bulla, or seal, appended to the document).
  • ‘The discovery is of considerable archaeological interest’, says Pestell. ‘Not only are bullae of this date incredibly rare, so are any seals’.


Latin, literally 'bubble'.

Words that rhyme with bulla

ampulla, fuller, Müller, pula, puller

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bul·la

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