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from the Department of Anatomy, University of New South Wales, Sidney Australia,



ultrastructure the structure of the smallest elements, components of a cell or tissue as seen with the electron microscope.


ultratome special microtome for cutting ultrathin sections for electron microscopy.


umbilicus L. = navel, from G. omphalos.


uncus L. = a hook; uncinate process = hook-like part of pancreas.


ungual adj. L. unguis = a claw, talon, finger-nail.


ureter G. ouron = urine + tereo = I preserve; a tube carrying urine from kidney to bladder (Galen, c. 180 AD).


urethra G. ourethra = tube from bladder to exterior (Hippocrates).


urine G. ouron = urine.


uterus L. = womb (especially in pregnancy), from L. uter = a large goatskin bag used as a wine-skin.


utricle L. utriculus = a little womb, dim. L. uterus; 1. larger of two sacs in membranous labyrinth of inner ear; 2. utriculus prostaticus = sac in prostate.


uvea L. uva = grape; the middle vascular coat of the eye (when peeled out of the eye, the uvea resembles the empty shell of a peeled concord grape), includes choroidea, ciliary body and iris.


uvula L. = a little grape; pendulous posterior end of soft palate used to produce gutteral consonants (1695).


vacuole L. vacuum = an empty space; a clear space in cell cytoplasm.


vagina L. = a sheath, a scabbard (L. gladius = sword was a common Roman term for penis); cf. evagination, invagination.


vallate L. vallatus = walled, from L. vallum = a rampart; of largest lingual papillae, surrounded by groove & wall; cf. circumvallate.


valve L. valva = a fold, a leaf of a folding door.


van Gieson, Ira. 1865-1913 American histologist & bacteriologist; v. G.'s stain = a mixture of acid fuchsin in saturated picric acid staining collagen bright pink.


varicose adj. L. varicosus = like a twisted vein, from L. varix (-ices) = a twisted vein.


varicosity L. " ; 1. a dilatation in a vein; 2. a dilatation in a nerve fibre.


Varolio, Costanzio. 1543-1575 Bologna, Rome physician & anatomist; pons Varolii = pons of brainstem.


vas (-a) L. vas = a dish, a vessel.


vas nervi (vasa nervorum) L. " + nervi = of a nerve; blood vessels supplying a nerve fascicle.


vas rectus (vasa recta) L. " + rectus = straight; straight blood vessels in renal medulla.


vas vasi (vasa vasorum) L. " + vasi = of a vessel; blood vessels supplying wall of a blood vessel.


vascular adj. L. vasculum = a small vessel, dim L. vas.


vasopressin L. " + OF. presser = to press; hormone from pars nervosa of hypophysis increasing blood pressure.


Vater, Abraham. 1684-1751 Wittenburg anatomist, botanist & pathologist; ampulla of Vater = hepato-pancreatic ampulla at end of bile duct (1720); corpuscles of Vater-Pacini = lamellated corpuscles in skin; tubercle of Vater = greater duodenal papilla (1710).


ventral adj. L. venter = belly; bellywards.


ventricle L. ventriculus = a small belly, dim. L. venter; cavities of brain; largest two chambers of heart.


Verga, Andrew. 1811-1895 Milan psychiatrist; ventricle of V. = posterior extension of the cavity of the septum pellucidum; canal of V. = small tunnel in petrous temporal bone containing a vein.


Verhoeff, Frederick H. 1874-1968 Boston ophthalmologist; stain for elastic tissue.


vermiform L. vermis = worm + forma = shape.


Vernier Pierre. 1580-1637 Paris physicist; vernier scale.


Vesalius (Wesel), Andreas. 1514-1564 Flemish (studied at Louvain & Paris) anatomist of Padua, Bologna & Pisa; founder of scientific, topographical anatomy; conducted public dissections at Padua; criticised Galen; wrote De corporis humani fabrica (1543).


vesica L. = bladder.


vesicle L. vesicula = a little sac, blister or bladder; e.g., seminal vesicle.


vesicular adj. L. " ; like blisters; of pale dispersed chromatin in a nucleus, a vesiculated nucleus.


vestibule L. vestibulum = entrance hall (where one takes off L. vestes = garments); entrance to nose, mouth, larynx, inner ear, female reproductive system.


vibrissa (-ae) L. vibrare = to vibrate; hairs in nasal vestible which vibrate to air currents during snoring.


Vicq d'Azyr, Felix. 1748-1794 Paris physician & comparative anatomist; bundle of V. d'A. = mamillothalamic tract of diencephalon (1781).

Vidus Vidius (= Guido Guidii) 1500-1569 Paris physician, Pisa philosopher; Vidian nerve = nerve of pterygoid canal (1611).


Vieussens, Raymond de. 1641-1716; Montpellier, Paris physician; anulus of V. = ansa subclavia; limbus fossa ovalis; valve of V. = superior medullary velum.


villus (-i) L. = a hair, (? from L. pilus = a tangled mass of hair); a thin projection of the lining of the small intestine, which resemble the nap of a cloth.


Virchow, Rudolph. 1821-1902 German pathologist & politician involved in public healthg issues; a founder of German anthropological society; developed understanding of the cellular basis of pathological processes; Virchow-Robin spaces = perivascular spaces around arterioles and arteries of central nervous system.


visceral adj. L. viscera = body organs; as opposed to somatic structures.


viscus L. = any internal organ in a cavity, from L. visco = I make sticky.


vitelline adj. L. vitellus = a little calf, a term of endearment; the yolk of an egg (Celsus, c. 10 AD)


vitreous L. vitreus = glassy; gelatinous mass inside the eyeball with glassy transparency.


Volkmann, Alfred Wilhelm. 1800-1877 Dorpat & Halle physiologist; V.'s canals = oblique vascular channels in compact bone (1873); cf. Havers.


vomeronasal organ L. vomere = to vomit & L. vomer = a ploughshare (which throws the earth to either side like vomit) + nasus = nose; small tubular epithelial organ located on antero-inferior surface of nasal septum; organ of Jacobson, q.v.


vorticose adj. L. vortex = eddy, vortex; venae vorticosae = veins with whirl-like disposition around eyeball.


Waldeyer, Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried. 1836-1921 Brelau & Berlin anatomist; W.'s fascia = rectal fascia (1899); W.'s organ = paradidymis; W.'s ring = ring of lymphatic tissue at junction of oro- and nasopharynx (1884); W.'s tract = tract of spinal cord white matter; eyelid sweat glands; neuron doctrine = theory that each neuron was a separate entity without structural continuity at a synapse (1891).


Weigert, Karl. 1843-1904 Frankfurt pathologist; stains for bacteria, elastin (1882), myelin, cell nuclei.


Westphal, Karl Friedrich Otto. 1833-1890 Berlin psychiatrist; nucleus of Edinger-Westphal = oculomotor nucleus (1885).


Wharton, Thomas. 1616-1673 London anatomist & physician; studied thyroid gland; W.'s jelly = embryonic connective tissue of umbilical cord (1656); W.'s duct = duct of submandibular gland (1656).


white matter parts of central nervous system where there are relatively large numbers of glistening-white myelinated fibres and few if any neurons; outer part of spinal cord; deep part of cerebrum and cerebellum.


white pulp the lymphoid tissue of the spleen; cf. Malpighian corpuscle.


whole mount a name for a histological preparation where the whole specimen is mounted or spread on the glass slide; e.g., w. m. of retina; w. m. of mesentery.


Winslow, Jacob Benignus. 1669-1760 Danish anatomist, Paris anatomist, renown teacher; named many muscles; foramen of W. = epiploic foramen (1732); pancreas of W. = uncinate process of pancreas.


Wirsung, Johann Georg. 1600-1643 (assassinated due to a quarrel of anatomy!); Padua prosector; duct of W. = main pancreatic excretory duct (1642).


Wolff, Caspar Friedrich. 1733-1794 St. Petersburg anatomist & physiologist, founder of modern embryology; against idea that embryo was preformed; Wolffian duct = mesonephric duct (1759); Wolffian body = mesonephros (1759).


Wolfring, Emilj F. von. 1832-1906 Polish ophthalmologist; glands of W. = accessory lacrimal glands.


working distance distance between front of microscope objective lens & upper surface of coverglass, with specimen in focus.


Worm, Olaus 1588-1654 Copenhagen classicist & anatomist; Wormian bones = tiny irregular bones in the cranial sutures (also known to ancient anatomists).


woven bone primary bone; a term for immature bone (formed by direct or indirect ossification) where the collagen and osteocytes are not organised into Haversian systems and interstitial lamellae.


xiphoid G. xiphos = a sword + -oeides = form of.


xylene G. xylon = wood; hydrocarbons from wood; a clearing agent.


Z-disc (or Z-band, Z-line) abb. for Zwischenscheibe Ge. Zwischenscheibe = a between-disc; dark disc in centre of I-band; end disc of a sarcomere; Dobbie's line; Krause's line.


Zeis, Eduard. 1807-1868 German surgeon; glands of Z. = sebaceous ciliary glands of eyelid.


Zeiss, Carl. 1816-1888 German optician; commercial development of light microscope; with Abbé, founded Zeiss optical manufacturing company


Zinn, Johann Gottfried. 1727-1759. Göttingen professor of Medicine, director Botanical Garden; anulus of Z. = common tendinous ring of orbit; zonule of Z. = ciliary zonule, q.v. = suspensory ligament of lens.


zona L. = a girdle, a marriage belt; e.g., in cortex of adrenal gland: z. fasciculata, q.v.; z. glomerulosa, q.v., z. reticulata, q.v.


zona pellucida L. zona = a girdle + perlucere = to shine through; refractile layer of glycoclayx surrounding ovum in a growing ovarian follicle.


zonula adherens (zonulae adherentes) L. zonula = a small girdle + adherens = sticking; component of junctional complex.


zonula occludens (zonulae occludentes) L " + occludens = ; component of junctional complex.


Zuckerkandl, Emil. 1849-1910 Graz, Vienna anatomist; bodies of Z. = aortic paraganglia = para-aortic masses of chromaffin tissue, q.v.


zygote G. zygoein = to yoke together; fusion of male and female germ cells.


zymogenic adj. G. zyme = leaven, ferment, sour dough + gennan = to produce; of the granules in glandular cells producing enzymes.