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Glossary

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A

  • alligator

    Broad-snouted crocodile-like reptile found in the USA and China.

  • alms bowl

    The giving of alms, or charitable donations, is a ritual in many religions. An alms bowl was a vessel into which these charitable donations would be placed.

  • alms box

    Box used to collect alms, or charitable donations. Historically also known as a 'poor box' or 'mite box', it was often placed in church to collect money for the needy.

  • ambergris

    A wax like substance that is an intestinal secretion of the sperm whale. It is found floating on tropical seas and has been used to make perfume.

  • ambulance

    A vehicle used for taking people to and from hospital for treatment, particularly in emergencies.

  • amenorrhoea

    The abnormal absence of menstruation

  • amino acid analyser

    used in laboratories to analyse amino acids

  • ammoniaphone

    Instrument which uses the inhalation of ammonia to treat bronchial disorders.

  • amoxicillin

    A form of penicillin that is easily absorbed. It is used for a variety of ailments, including middle-ear and sinus infections, salmonella and gonorrhoea.

  • amphibian remains

    Whole or part remains of an animal from the amphibian family (amphibia). A group of vertebrate animals distinguished by having two distinct forms during its life cycle, one in water and the other usually out of water breathing air.

  • ampoule

    A sealed glass or plastic capsule containing one dose of a drug in the form of a sterile solution for injection.

  • amputation

    Removal of part of, or a whole limb by surgery. Used to control pain or the spread of disease in the affected limb.

  • amputation instrument set

    Set of instruments used for amputation, usually of external limbs. The amputation saw was the primary part, usually present in all sets of this type.

  • amputation knife

    A broad-bladed knife used primarily for cutting large muscles during major amputations of limbs

  • amputation saw

    Saw used for amputation. These tend to be instruments from the past, and were in common usage from c. 1500-1940 in Europe.

  • amulet

    Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.

  • amulet case

    Container for housing an amulet

  • amyl nitrite

    A liquid that is used to treat heart disease by causing the blood vessels to widen.

  • anaemia

    A shortage of haemoglobin (the pigment carrying oxygen in red blood cells). Symptoms include weakness, pale skin, breathlessness, faintness, palpitations, and lowered resistance to infection.

  • anaesthetic

    An agent that causes insensitivity to pain. Applied to either the whole body (general anaesthetic) or a particular area or region (local anaesthetic).

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