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Medical Dictionary


  • tungsten
  • watt
  • tryptophan
  • tryptophanyl
weight in volume, used to indicate that a particular weight of a solid is contained in a particular volume of solution

P., Norwegian chemist, 1833–1900. See Guldberg-W. law.

Erik, Norwegian biologist, *1903. See Rose-W. test.

Petrus Johannes, Dutch ophthalmologist, 1886–1979. See W. syndrome.

Eberhard J., German botanist and anatomist, 1702–1758. See W. membrane.

Max, U.S. histologist and pathologist, 1905–1965. See W.-Meissel stain for calcium-magnesium-ATPase.

Herman J.G., German pathologist, *1878. See Bracht-W. lesion.

Juhn A., 20th century Japanese-Canadian neurologist. See W. test.

wadding (wahd′ing)
1. Carded cotton or wool in sheets, used for surgical dressings. 2. Fibrous material that is part of a shotgun shell, which is often found within the wound if the injury was inflicted at close range.

Conrad H., British embryologist and geneticist, 1905–1975. See waddingtonian homeostasis.

waddle (wod′l)
SYN: waddling gait.

wafer (wa′fer)
A thin sheet of dried flour paste, used to enclose a powder, the w. being moistened and folded over the drug, so that it can be swallowed without taste. [M.E., fr. O.Fr. waufre, fr. Germanic]

Hans, Swiss ophthalmologist, *1905. See W. disease, W. syndrome.

William, English surgeon, 1843–1910.

waist (wast)
The portion of the trunk between the ribs and the pelvis. [A.S. waext]

Gustav A., German obstetrician, 1856–1935. See W. position.

Jan G., Swedish physician, *1906. See W. macroglobulinemia, W. purpura, W. syndrome, W. test.

Waldeyer, Waldeyer-Hartz
Heinrich W.G. von, German anatomist and pathologist, 1836–1921. See W. fossae, under fossa, W. glands, under gland, W. zonal layer, W. throat ring, W. sheath, W. space, W. tract.

1. To move on foot. 2. The characteristic manner in which one moves on foot. SEE ALSO: gait. [M.E. walken, fr. O.E. wealcen, to roll]

Arthur Earl, U.S. neurologist, *1907. See W. tractotomy, Dandy-W. syndrome.

J.T. Ainslie, English chemist, 1868–1930. See Rideal-W. coefficient, Rideal-W. method.

James, British gynecologist, *1916. See W. chart.

wall (wawl)
An investing part enclosing a cavity such as the chest or abdomen, or covering a cell or any anatomic unit. A w., as of the chest, abdomen, or any hollow organ. SYN: paries . [L. vallum]
  • anterior wall of middle ear: carotid wall of tympanic cavity.
  • anterior wall of stomach: the part of the gastric wall that faces the peritoneal cavity, aka paries anterior gastris.
  • anterior wall of tympanic cavity: carotid wall of tympanic cavity.
  • anterior wall of vagina: somewhat shorter than the posterior wall and at its upper end penetrated by the cervix of the uterus. SYN: paries anterior vaginae.
  • axial walls of the pulp chambers: the walls parallel with the long axis of a tooth: the mesial, distal, buccal, and lingual walls.
  • carotid wall of middle ear:carotid wall of tympanic cavity.
  • carotid wall of tympanic cavity: it contains the carotid canal and the opening of the auditory tube. SYN: paries caroticus cavi tympani, anterior wall of middle ear, anterior wall of tympanic cavity, carotid wall of middle ear.
  • cavity wall: one of the surfaces bounding a cavity.
  • cell wall
    • the outer layer or membrane of some animal and plant cells; in the latter, it is mainly cellulose.
    • in bacteria, the rigid structure, usually containing a peptidoglycan layer, that provides osmotic protection and defines bacterial shape and staining properties.
  • chest wall: in respiratory physiology, the total system of structures outside the lungs that move as a part of breathing; it includes the rib cage, diaphragm, abdominal wall, and abdominal contents. SYN: thoracic wall.
  • enamel wall: in dentistry, the part of the wall of a cavity consisting of enamel.
  • external wall of cochlear duct:external surface of cochlear duct.
  • inferior wall of orbit:floor of orbit.
  • inferior wall of tympanic cavity:jugular wall of middle ear.
  • jugular wall of middle ear: the floor of the tympanic cavity; a thin plate of bone separating the tympanic cavity from the jugular fossa. SYN: paries jugularis cavi tympani, floor of tympanic cavity&star, fundus tympani, inferior wall of tympanic cavity.
  • labyrinthine wall of middle ear:labyrinthine wall of tympanic cavity.
  • labyrinthine wall of tympanic cavity: a bony layer separating the middle from the internal ear or labyrinth; it contains the fenestra vestibuli and the fenestra cochleae. SYN: paries labyrinthicus cavi tympani, medial wall of tympanic cavity&star, labyrinthine wall of middle ear, medial wall of middle ear.
  • lateral wall of middle ear:membranous wall of tympanic cavity.
  • lateral wall of orbit: a triangular wall of the orbit formed by the zygomatic bone, the greater wing of the sphenoid bone, and a small part of the frontal bone; posteriorly it is bounded by the superior and inferior orbital fissures. SYN: paries lateralis orbitae.
  • lateral wall of tympanic cavity: membranous wall of tympanic cavity.
  • mastoid wall of middle ear:mastoid wall of tympanic cavity.
  • mastoid wall of tympanic cavity: it contains the opening into the mastoid antrum. SYN: paries mastoideus cavi tympani, posterior wall of tympanic cavity&star, mastoid wall of middle ear, posterior wall of middle ear.
  • medial wall of middle ear:labyrinthine wall of tympanic cavity.
  • medial wall of orbit: the thin, rectangular wall of the orbit formed by the orbital plate of the ethmoid, lacrimal, frontal and a small part of the sphenoid bones; the fossa for the lacrimal sac lies at its anterior limit. SYN: paries medialis orbitae.
  • medial wall of tympanic cavity: labyrinthine wall of tympanic cavity.
  • membranous wall of middle ear:membranous wall of tympanic cavity.
  • membranous wall of trachea: the part of the tracheal wall posteriorly that is not reinforced by tracheal cartilages. SYN: paries membranaceus tracheae.
  • membranous wall of tympanic cavity: the wall formed mainly by the tympanic membrane. SYN: paries membranaceus cavi tympani, lateral wall of tympanic cavity&star, lateral wall of middle ear, membranous wall of middle ear.
  • nail wall: the fold of skin overlapping the lateral and proximal margins of the nail. SYN: vallum unguis, nail fold.
  • parietal wall: the body wall or the somatopleure from which it is formed.
  • posterior wall of middle ear:mastoid wall of tympanic cavity.
  • posterior wall of stomach: that part of the gastric wall that faces the omental bursa. SYN: paries posterior gastris.
  • posterior wall of tympanic cavity: mastoid wall of tympanic cavity.
  • posterior wall of vagina: it is longer than the anterior wall and has a low ridge in the midline throughout most of its length. SYN: paries posterior vaginae.
  • pulpal wall
    • one of the walls of the pulp cavity
    • the wall of a cavity preparation adjacent to the pulp space; e.g., mesial pulpal wall.
  • splanchnic wall: the wall of one of the viscera or the splanchnopleure from which it is formed.
  • superior wall of orbit: roof of orbit.
  • tegmental wall of middle ear: tegmental wall of tympanic cavity.
  • tegmental wall of tympanic cavity: the superior wall, or roof, of the tympanic cavity, formed by the tegmen tympani of the temporal bone. SYN: paries tegmentalis cavi tympani, tegmental root of tympanic cavity; roof of tympanic cavity, tegmental wall of middle ear.
  • thoracic wall: chest wall.
  • tympanic wall of cochlear duct: tympanic surface of cochlear duct.
  • vestibular wall of cochlear duct: vestibular surface of cochlear duct.
Adolf, German physician, 1862–1949. See Wallenberg syndrome.

Augustus V., English physiologist, 1816–1870. See wallerian degeneration, wallerian law.

wallerian (waw-ler′e-an)
Relating to or described by A.V. Waller.

wall-eye (wawl′i)
1. SYN: exotropia. 2. Absence of color in the iris, or leukoma of the cornea.

Patrick Craig, U.S. urologist, *1938. See neurovascular bundle of W., W. procedure.

Max, Swiss gynecologist, 1867–1933. See W. cell rest.

August F., German anatomist, 1688–1746. See W. dilator, W. canals, under canal, W. ducts, under duct, W. ganglion, W. plexus.

wandering (wahn′der-ing)
Moving about; not fixed; abnormally motile. [A.S. wandrian, to wander]

Chung Yik, Chinese pathologist, 1889–1931. See W. test.

Owen H., U.S. surgeon, 1898–1981. See W. drainage, W. suction, W. tube.

Wangiella (wang-ge-el′a)
A dematiaceous genus of fungi characterized by phialides without collarettes, a black yeastlike colony with yeast forms, and later hyphae; the fungi grow well at 40°C. W. (Exophiala) dermatitidis is an etiologic agent of chromoblastomycosis.

Otto H., German biochemist and Nobel laureate, 1883–1970. See W. apparatus, W. respiratory enzyme, W. old yellow enzyme, W. theory, W.-Lipmann-Dickens-Horecker shunt, Barcroft-W. apparatus, Barcroft-W. technique.

Frederick O., British osteologist, 1818–1877. See W. triangle.

Owen C., 20th century pediatrician. See Romano-W. syndrome.

ward (word)
A large room or hall in a hospital containing a number of beds. SEE ALSO: unit. [A.S. weard]

James, British surgeon, 1782–1869. See W. method.

warfarin sodium (war′fa-rin)
An anticoagulant with the same actions as dicumarol; also used as a rodenticide; also available as the potassium salt, with the same actions and uses. [Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation + coumarin]

warm-blooded (warm′blud-ed)
SYN: homeothermic.

Dean, U.S. surgeon, 1924–1989. See W. shunt.

wart (wort)
SYN: verruca. anatomic w. SYN: postmortem w.. asbestos w. SYN: asbestos corn. common w. SYN: verruca vulgaris. digitate w. SYN: verruca digitata. filiform w. SYN: verruca filiformis. flat w. SYN: verruca plana. fugitive w. a transitory w.; one that does not persist. genital w. SYN: condyloma acuminatum. Henle warts SYN: Hassall-Henle bodies, under body. infectious w. SYN: verruca vulgaris. mosaic w. plantar growth of numerous closely aggregated warts forming a mosaic appearance, frequently caused by human papillomavirus type 2. Peruvian w. SYN: verruga peruana. pitch w. a precancerous keratotic epidermal tumor, common among workers in pitch and coal tar derivatives. See pitch-worker's cancer. plane w. SYN: verruca plana. plantar w. an often painful w. on the sole, usually caused by human papillomavirus type 1. SYN: verruca plantaris. postmortem w. a tuberculous warty growth (tuberculosis cutis verrucosa) on the hand of one who performs postmortem examinations. SYN: anatomic tubercle, anatomic w.. senile w. SYN: actinic keratosis. soot w. the precancerous lesion of chimney sweep's cancer. telangiectatic w. SYN: angiokeratoma. tuberculous w. SYN: tuberculosis cutis verrucosa. venereal w. SYN: condyloma acuminatum. viral w. SYN: verruca vulgaris.

Robert, German neurologist, 1887–1956. See W. symptom.

Aldred S., U.S. pathologist, 1866–1931. See W. tumor, W.-Finkeldey cells, under cell, W.-Starry silver stain.

wartpox (wort′poks)
SYN: variola verrucosa.

warty (wort′e)
Relating to or covered with warts.

wash (wosh)
A solution used to clean or bathe a part. For types of washes, see the specific term; e.g., eyewash, mouthwash.

Adolphus, 19th century German anatomist. See W. glands, under gland.

August P. von, German bacteriologist, 1866–1925. See W. antibody, W. reaction, W. test, provocative W. test.

A term used to designate a case in which the Wassermann reaction remains positive despite all treatment.

wasting (wast′ing)
1. SYN: emaciation. 2. Denoting a disease characterized by emaciation. salt w. inappropriately large renal excretion of salt despite the apparent need of the body to retain it.

water (wah′ter)
H2O; a clear, odorless, tasteless liquid, solidifying at 32°F (0°C, 0°R), and boiling at 212°F (100°C, 80°R), that is present in all animal and vegetable tissues and dissolves more substances than any other liquid. See volume.

Euphemism for urine.

A pharmacopeial preparation of a clear, saturated aqueous solution (unless otherwise specified) of volatile oils, or other aromatic or volatile substances, prepared by processes involving distillation or solution (agitation followed by filtration). SYN: aromatic w.. [A.S. waeter]
  • water of adhesion: water held by molecular attraction in contact with solid surfaces, but not forming an essential part of their constitution.
  • alkaline water: a water that contains appreciable amounts of the bicarbonates of calcium, lithium, potassium, or sodium.
  • aromatic water: water
  • baryta water: a saturated aqueous solution of barium hydroxide; used as an alkaline reagent.
  • bitter water: a natural mineral water containing Epsom salt.
  • bound water: water held to colloids and other substances and not removed by simple filtration.
  • bromine water: a water containing the bromides of magnesium, potassium, or sodium in therapeutic amounts.
  • calcic water: a water containing appreciable quantities of calcium salts in solution.
  • carbonated water, carbonic water: water that contains a considerable amount of carbonic acid in solution.
  • carbon dioxide-free water: purified water that has been boiled vigorously for 5 min or more.
  • chalybeate water: a water that contains salts of iron in appreciable quantities.
  • chlorine water: a water that contains the chlorides of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium in varying amounts.
  • water of combustion: water of metabolism.
  • water of constitution: water held by a unit of structure as an essential part of its constitution, though not an ingredient of its molecules. See water of crystallization.
  • water of crystallization: water of constitution that unites with certain salts and is essential to their arrangement in crystalline form; e.g., CuSO4&chmpnt;5H2O.
  • deionized water: water purified by passing through ion-exchange columns.
  • distilled water: water purified by distillation.
  • earthy water: a water containing a large amount of mineral matter, chiefly sulfate, in solution.
  • free water: water in the body that can be removed by ultrafiltration and in which substances can be dissolved.
  • gentian aniline water: gentian violet with saturated aniline w., a more effective stain than simple gentian violet.
  • hard water water: containing ions, such as Mg2+ and Ca2+, that form insoluble salts with fatty acids so that ordinary soap will not lather in it.
  • heavy water: D2O; water in which the hydrogen atoms are deuterium, or heavy hydrogen (2H), with physical properties that differ noticeably from those of ordinary w.; an elevated presence will cause a decrease in metabolic activity; used as a moderator in nuclear reactors because of its capacity to absorb neutrons. SYN: deuterium oxide.
  • indifferent water: a mineral water containing only a small quantity of saline matter.
  • water for injection: water purified by distillation for the preparation of products for parenteral use.
  • intracellular water: intracellular fluid.
  • lime water: calcium hydroxide solution; a saturated solution prepared by mixing 3 g of calcium hydroxide in a liter of purified cool water. Undissolved calcium hydroxide is allowed to precipitate and the solution is dispensed without agitation; lime water is a common ingredient in lotions and is used internally extensively in veterinary medicine.
  • water of metabolism: the water formed in the body by oxidation of the hydrogen of the food, the greatest amount being produced in the metabolism of fat (about 117 g per 100 g of fat). SYN: water of combustion.
  • mineral water: water that contains appreciable amounts of certain salts, which give it therapeutic properties.
  • potable water: a water fit for drinking, being free from contamination and not containing a sufficient quantity of saline material to be regarded as a mineral water.
  • purified water: water obtained by distillation or deionization.
  • saline water: a water that contains neutral salts (chlorides, bromides, iodides, sulfates) in appreciable amounts.
  • Selters water, Seltzer water: a mineral water containing carbonates of sodium, calcium, and magnesium, and chloride of sodium. [Nieder Selters, a mineral spring in Prussia]
  • soft water: water lacking those ions, such as Mg2+ and Ca2+, that form insoluble salts with fatty acids, so that ordinary soap will lather easily in it.
  • sulfate water: a water holding in solution appreciable quantities of the sulfates of calcium, magnesium, or sodium.
  • sulfur water: a water containing hydrogen sulfide or the metallic sulfides.
  • total body water: (TBW) the sum of intracellular water and extracellular water (volume); about 60% of body weight.
  • transcellular water: that fraction of extracellular water in cerebrospinal, digestive, epithelial, introcular, pleural, sweat, and synovial secretions; about 1.5% of body weight.
waterfall (wah′ter-fawl)
A term used to describe flow in vascular beds where lateral pressure tending to collapse vessels greatly exceeds venous pressure. Flow is independent of venous pressure and occurs only when arterial pressure exceeds lateral pressure; likened to flow making a w. from a sluice or spillway over a dam, with arterial pressure being height of water behind the dam, lateral pressure being spillway height, and venous pressure being height of outflow stream below the dam. SYN: sluice.

Rupert, British physician, 1873–1958. See W.-Friderichsen syndrome.

Charles Alexander, U.S. radiologist, 1885-1961. See W. view radiograph.

Edward G., U.S. obstetrician and gynecologist, *1898. See W. operation.

waters (wah′ters)
Colloquialism for amnionic fluid. bag of w. bag of w.. false w. a leakage of fluid prior to or in beginning labor, before the rupture of the amnion.


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