Meaning of embolism in English:


Pronunciation /ˈɛmbəlɪz(ə)m/

See synonyms for embolism on

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mass nounMedicine
  • Obstruction of an artery, typically by a clot of blood or an air bubble.

    ‘causes of cerebral embolism’
    • ‘one patient died of a pulmonary embolism’
    • ‘Serious obstructions, such as a pulmonary embolism, need emergency medical treatment.’
    • ‘Even so, thrombolytic therapy of pulmonary embolism does not dissolve the clot completely as it does with acute coronary thrombosis, and increases the risk of bleeding.’
    • ‘A computed tomographic scan demonstrated a pulmonary embolism, and anticoagulation therapy was initiated.’
    • ‘For example, if the person has an air embolism in the arteries carrying blood to the brain, it may cause seizures.’
    • ‘Spiral computed tomography showed a pulmonary embolism in the left lower lobe.’
    lump, clump, mass, curdling


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘the insertion of an intercalary period in the calendar’): via late Latin from Greek embolismos, from emballein ‘insert’. The medical sense dates from the mid 19th century.