Definition of medulla oblongata in English:

medulla oblongata

Pronunciation /məˌdələ äˌblôNGˈɡädə/ /məˌdələ ɑˌblɔŋˈɡɑdə/


  • The continuation of the spinal cord within the skull, forming the lowest part of the brainstem and containing control centers for the heart and lungs.

    ‘Located at the base of the skull, the medulla oblongata is continuous with the spinal cord at the foramen magnum.’
    • ‘Many arterial branches arise from the vertebral and basilar artery to supply the medulla oblongata and the pons.’
    • ‘In the lower part of the illustration is the cut surface of the medulla oblongata and a view of the ventral pons from below.’
    • ‘Scattered single tumor cells were also identified in the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata.’
    • ‘The section cuts the medulla oblongata.’


Late 17th century modern Latin, literally ‘elongated medulla’.