The Revision Guide for Student Nurses (Part I)

Systems of the Body - Glossary

Afferent = Conveying towards the centre

Alimentary canal = The passage through which food passes from mouth to anus

Autonomic = Self-governing

Cerumen = Ear wax

Cervical = Pertaining to the neck or the constricted part of an organ

Chyle = Digested fats which, as a milky fluid are absorbed into the lacteals in the villi of the small intestine

Chyme = The semi-liquid acid mass of food which passes from the stomach to the intestine

Cilia = The eye lashes; may also describe the microscopic filaments projecting from some epithelial cells

Corpuscle = A small protoplasmic cell (as of blood or connective tissue)

Cranial nerves = The 12 pairs of nerves arising directly from the brain

Dew claw = The reduced remnant of digit I in the cat and dog; usually only present on the fore-paws

Diastole = The phase of the cardiac cycle in which the heart relaxes between contractions; IE the 2 ventricles are dilated by blood flowing into them

Efferent = Conveying from the centre to the periphery

Endocrine = Secreting within

Endothelium = The membranous lining of serous, synovial and other internal surfaces

Enzyme = A protein which will catalyse a biological reaction

Epithelium =The surface layer of cells either of the skin or of lining tissues

Erythrocyte = A mature red blood cell containing haemoglobin which serves to transport oxygen

Erythropoeisis = The manufacture of red blood cells

Exocrine = Pertaining to those glands that discharge their secretion via a duct

Glossal = Relating to the tongue

Granulocyte = Any cell containing granules within its cytoplasm

Gustatory = Relating to taste

Hepatic portal system = A system that allows the transport of digested foods from the gut to the liver

Hormone = A chemical messenger generated in one organ and transported in the blood to another, in which it excites activity

Hyoid = The U shaped bone above the thyroid cartilage to which the tongue is attached

Integument = The covering of the body

Keratin = An albuminoid substance which forms the principal constituent of all horny tissues (such as the claws)

Lacrimation = Tear production

Lacteals = Lymphatic ducts in the small intestine which absorb chyle

Limbus = The junction between the sclera and cornea

Lymphocyte = A white blood cell formed in the lymphoid tissue; these produce immune bodies to overcome and protect against infection

Mediastinum = The space in the middle of the thorax between the two pleurae

Mediate auscultation = Listening to the sounds of internal organs by the use of a stethoscope

Medulla oblongata = The portion of the spinal cord contained within the cranium; it contains the nerve centres that govern respiration and cardiovascular function

Melanocytes = A cell of the skin pigment melanin

Meninges = The membranes covering the brain and spinal cord

Neuroglia = The connective tissue running between the neurons

Neuron = A nerve cell

Olfaction = The sense of smell

Orbits = The eye sockets

Ossicles = The 3 small bones of the ear (malleus, incus and stapes)

Papilla = A small, nipple-shaped protuberance

Parasympathetic system = The cranio-sacral part of the autonomic nervous system

Peristalsis = Wave-like contractions travelling along the walls of a tubular organ in order to move onward the contents (occurs in the muscle coat of the alimentary canal)

Peritoneum = The serous membrane lining the abdominal and pelvic cavities

Petechia = A small effusion of subcutaneous blood

Phagocytosis = The engulfing and destruction of microorganisms and foreign bodies by phagocytes in the blood

Pleura = The serous membrane lining the thorax and lungs

Rhinarium = The nose pad

Sclera = The fibrous coat of the eyeball, the white of the eye

Serous = Related to serum

Serum = The liquid part of the blood in which the corpuscles are suspended

Somatic = Relating to the body as opposed to the mind, or relating to the body wall as distinct from the viscera

Stercoraceous = Faecal, or containing faeces

Sudiferous = Pertaining to sweat

Systemic = Pertaining to or affecting the body as a whole

Systole = The period of contraction of the heart

Thoracic = Pertaining to the chest

Thrombocytes = Platelets; white cell fragments involved in the clotting mechanism of the blood

Tidal volume = The amount of gas passing into and out of the lungs in each respiratory cycle

Trigemenal = Divided into 3

Urogenital system = Collective name for the urinary and reproductive systems

Vibrissae = Sensory hairs

Villus = A small, finger-like process projecting from a surface

Visceral = Pertaining to organs contained within the body cavities

Visceral system = A tubular system that possesses 1 or 2 openings onto the surface of the body

Viscus = An organ contained within a body cavity.