Definition of embolus in English:



  • A blood clot, air bubble, piece of fatty deposit, or other object which has been carried in the bloodstream to lodge in a vessel and cause an embolism.

    • ‘Leg clots with pulmonary emboli and bed sores must be prevented.’
    • ‘If the embolus reaches a blood vessel it cannot flow through, a blockage occurs.’
    • ‘The embolus is carried in the blood stream until it gets stuck in a place where it forms a blockage.’
    • ‘Spiral computed tomography scans are more reliable but diagnosis is limited to emboli in larger vessels only.’
    • ‘The emboli lodge in lung capillaries where they obstruct pulmonary blood flow.’
    lump, clump, mass, curdling


Mid 17th century (denoting something inserted or moving within another, specifically the plunger of a syringe): from Latin, literally ‘piston’, from Greek embolos ‘peg, stopper’. The current sense dates from the mid 19th century.