Definition of tubercle in US English:



  • 1Zoology Botany Anatomy
    A small rounded projection or protuberance, especially on a bone or on the surface of an animal or plant.

    • ‘In the male, the genital tubercle is located adjacent to and caudal to the umbilicus, whereas the genital tubercle in the female is located just ventral to the tail.’
    • ‘The tubercles have rounded surface and irregular shape.’
    • ‘Its fibers pass dorsally from an extensive anterior attachment to insert on the pharyngeal raphe, the pharyngeal tubercle of the occipital bone.’
    • ‘The blood supply of the scaphoid comes from the radial artery, feeding the bone on the dorsal surface near the tubercle and scaphoid waist.’
    • ‘A terminal segment includes a tubercle that projects dorsally and an anus.’
  • 2Medicine
    A small nodular lesion in the lungs or other tissues, characteristic of tuberculosis.

    • ‘The disease causes these tubercles to become yellow and spongy and coughing fits causes them to be spat out by the sufferer.’
    • ‘Responding to the invasion, macrophages may huddle with other immune cells to form little nodules called granulomas, or tubercles.’
    • ‘Even on the bare question of the presence or absence of tubercle in a lung it often fails us; on questions of the age, extent, distribution and histological character of the tuberculous lesions it can tell us little.’
    • ‘When this happens, the bacteria become encapsulated in tiny tubercles (round lesions) usually in the lungs which may be seen on a chest X-ray.’
    • ‘Tuberculoma is a mass of granulation tissue made up of a conglomeration of microscopic small tubercles.’


Late 16th century: from Latin tuberculum, diminutive of tuber (see tuber).