Definition of phial in English:



  • A small cylindrical glass bottle, typically used for medical samples or for potions or medicines.

    ‘a phial of blood’
    • ‘He reaches into his travel bag and pulls out several phials of brightly coloured pills and powders.’
    • ‘There was an assortment of pill bottles, boxes of syringes, phials of various medicines, and many boxes of gloves.’
    • ‘The phial contained a second sample of urine from the horse which would have enabled dope testers to determine whether Ireland retained its only gold medal of the games.’
    • ‘We have produced a great deal of smallpox vaccine and are in the process of purchasing over two million phials of vaccine.’
    • ‘Today, even if the original forensic sample is no longer viable for DNA analysis, the glass phial it's been in for decades may offer up enough material.’


Middle English: from Old French fiole, via Latin from Greek phialē, denoting a broad flat container. Compare with vial.