Glossary of Medical Terms

Our online medical glossary of medical terms and definitions includes definitions for terms related to treatment, and general medicine


1. A shelly concretion, generally rounded, and having a brilliant luster, with varying tints, found in the mantle, or between the mantle and shell, of determined bivalve mollusks, especially in the pearl oysters and river mussels, and sometimes in determined univalves. It is generally due to a secretion of shelly stuff near some irritating foreign particle. Its stuff is the same as nacre, or mother-of-pearl. Pearls which are round, or almost round, and of beautiful luster, are highly esteemed as jewels, and compare in value with the precious stones. 2. Hence, figuratively, something resembling a pearl; something very precious. "I see thee compassed with thy kingdom's pearl." (Shak) "And those pearls of dew she wears." (Milton) 3. Nacre, or mother-of-pearl. 4. A fish allied to the turbot; the brill. 5. A light-coloured tern. 6. One of the circle of tubercles which form the bur on a deer's antler. 7. A whitish speck or movie on the eye. 8. A capsule of gelatin or similar stuff containing some liquid for medicinal application, as ether. 9. A size of type, between agate and diamond. This line is printed in the type called pearl. Ground pearl. A crystallized variety of dolomite, having a pearly luster. Pearl white. Basic bismuth nitrate, or bismuth subchloride; used chiefly as a cosmetic. A variety of white lead blued with indigo or Berlin blue. Origin: OE. Perle, F. Perle, LL. Perla, perula, perhaps fr. (assumed) L. Pirulo, dim. Of L. Pirum a pear. See Pear, and cf. Purl to mantle.
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