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Male Reproductive System Glossary

Terms used to explain Male Reproductive System can sometimes be confusing. To help you fully understand the articles and features related to this very important health topic, we have compiled a glossary of terms that can help.


Pronunciation: \-ˈan-drə-jən\

Function: noun
: a substance that tends to inhibit the production, activity, or effects of a male sex hormone


Pronunciation: \är-ˌtir-ē-ō-sklə-ˈrō-səs\

Function: noun
pl -ro*ses
Pronunciation: \-ˌsēz\
: a chronic disease characterized by abnormal thickening and hardening of the arterial walls with resulting loss of elasticity compare atherosclerosis



Pronunciation: \ˌath-ə-rō-sklə-ˈrō-səs\

Function: noun

pl -ro*ses

1: an arteriosclerosis characterized by atheromatous deposits in and fibrosis of the inner layer of the arteries


Function: abbreviation
benign prostatic hyperplasia; benign prostatic hypertrophy

Body Mass Index

body mass index
Function: noun
: a measure of body fat that is the ratio of the weight of the body in kilograms to the square of its height in meters <a body mass index in adults of 25 to 29.9 is considered an indication of overweight, and 30 or more an indication of obesity> abbr. BMI—called also Quetelet index


Pronunciation: \-ˈther-ə-pē\

Function: noun
pl -pies
: radiotherapy in which the source of radiation is placed (as by implantation) in or close to the area being treated

CT Scan

CT scan
Pronunciation: \(ˈ)sē-ˈtē-\

Function: noun
: see: cat scan


Pronunciation: \ˈkath-ət-ər, ˈkath-tər\

Function: noun
: a tubular medical device for insertion into canals, vessels, passageways, or body cavities for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes (as to permit injection or withdrawal of fluids or to keep a passage open)


Pronunciation: \-ˈther-ə-pē\

Function: noun
pl -pies
: the use of chemical agents in the treatment or control of disease or mental disorder


Pronunciation: \ˌkō-lə-ˈnäs-kə-pē, ˌkäl-ə-\

Function: noun
pl -pies
: endoscopic examination of the colon <transabdominal colonoscopy with a sigmoidoscope via colotomy>

Coronary Artery Bypass

coronary artery bypass
Function: noun
: see: coronary bypass


Pronunciation: \ˌkrī-ō-ˈsərj-(ə-)rē\

Function: noun
pl -ger*ies
: surgery in which diseased or abnormal tissue (as a tumor or wart) is destroyed or removed by freezing (as by the use of liquid nitrogen)

Cyclic Guanosine Monophosphate

cyclic guanosine monophosphate
Function: noun
: see: cyclic gmp


Pronunciation: \sis-ˈtäs-kə-pē\
Function: noun
1: the use of a cystoscope to examine the bladder


Pronunciation: \ˌdē-t(y)ü-ˈmes-ən(t)s\

Function: noun
: subsidence or diminution of swelling or erection


Pronunciation: \-ˌren-chē-ˈā-shən\

Function: noun

1 a: the act of describing a thing by giving its differentia
b: the enhancement of microscopically visible differences between tissue or cell parts by partial selective decolorization or removal of excess stain (as in regressive staining)
c: the development of a discriminating conditioned response with a positive response to one stimulus and absence of the response on the application of similar but discriminably different stimuli
2 a: modification of different parts of the body for performance of particular functions; also: specialization of parts or organs in the course of evolution
b: the sum of the developmental processes whereby apparently unspecialized cells, tissues, and structures attain their adult form and function compare determination 2

Doppler Echocardiography

Doppler echocardiography
Function: noun
: Doppler ultrasound used to measure cardiovascular blood flow velocity for diagnostic purposes (as for evaluating valve function)


Pronunciation: \i-ˈjak-yə-ˌlāt\

Function: verb
transitive verb
1: to eject from a living body; specif: to eject (semen) in orgasmintransitive verb: to eject a fluid (as semen)

Erectile Dysfunction

erectile dysfunction
Function: noun
: chronic inability to achieve or maintain an erection satisfactory for sexual intercourse : see: impotence 2abbr. ED


Pronunciation: \i-ˈrek-shən\

Function: noun

1: the state marked by firm turgid form and erect position of a previously flaccid bodily part containing cavernous tissue when that tissue becomes dilated with blood
2: an occurrence of erection in the penis or clitoris


Pronunciation: \ˈes-trə-jən\

Function: noun
: any of various natural steroids (as estradiol) that are formed from androgen precursors, that are secreted chiefly by the ovaries, placenta, adipose tissue, and testes, and that stimulate the development of female secondary sex characteristics and promote the growth and maintenance of the female reproductive system; also: any of various synthetic or semisynthetic steroids (as ethinyl estradiol) that mimic the physiological effect of natural estrogens


Pronunciation: \(ˌ)fər-ˈtil-ət-ē\

Function: noun
pl -ties

1: the quality or state of being fertile
2: the birthrate of a population compare mortality 2b


Pronunciation: \ˈflas-əd, ˈflak-səd\

Function: adjective
: not firm or stiff; also: lacking normal or youthful firmness <flaccid muscles>

Heart Attack

heart attack
Function: noun
: an acute episode of heart disease marked by the death or damage of heart muscle due to insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle usu. as a result of a coronary thrombosis or a coronary occlusion and that is characterized esp. by chest pain —called also myocardial infarction, compare angina pectoris coronary insufficiency heart failure 1


Pronunciation: \ˈim-pət-ən(t)s\

Function: noun

1: the quality or state of not being potent <drug-resistant bacteria are a virulent indicator of the growing impotence of antibiotics>
2: an abnormal physical or psychological state of a male characterized by inability to copulate because of failure to have or maintain an erection —called also erectile dysfunction

In Vitro Fertilization

in vitro fertilization
Function: noun
: fertilization of an egg in a laboratory dish or test tube; specif: mixture usu. in a laboratory dish of sperm with eggs which have been surgically removed from an ovary that is followed by implantation of one or more of the resulting fertilized eggs into a female's uterus abbr. IVF


Pronunciation: \(ˈ)in-ˈkänt-ən-ən(t)s\

Function: noun

1: inability or failure to restrain sexual appetite
2: inability of the body to control the evacuative functions <fecal incontinence> see stress incontinence urge incontinence


Pronunciation: \lə-ˈbēd-(ˌ)ō also ˈlib-ə-ˌdō or lə-ˈbī-(ˌ)dō\

Function: noun
pl -dos

1: instinctual psychic energy that in psychoanalytic theory is derived from primitive biological urges (as for sexual pleasure or self-preservation) and that is expressed in conscious activity
2: sexual drive

Lymph Nodule

lymph nodule
Function: noun
: a small simple lymph node

Nitric Oxide

nitric oxide
Function: noun
: a poisonous colorless gas NO that occurs as a common air pollutant formed by the oxidation of atmospheric nitrogen and that is also formed by the oxidation of arginine in the mammalian body where it acts as a mediator of intracellular and intercellular communication regulating numerous biological processes (as vasodilation and neurotransmission)


Pronunciation: \ˈor-ˌgaz-əm\

Function: noun
: the climax of sexual excitement that is usu. accompanied by ejaculation of semen in the male and by vaginal contractions in the female


Function: noun
pl -nea
also -naea
Pronunciation: \-ˈnē-ə\

: an area of tissue that marks externally the approximate boundary of the pelvic outlet and gives passage to the urogenital ducts and rectum; also: the area between the anus and the posterior part of the external genitalia esp. in the female

Peyronie's Disease

Pey*ro*nie's disease
Pronunciation: \ˌpā-rə-ˈnēz-, pā-ˈrō-(ˌ)nēz-\

Function: noun
: the formation of fibrous plaques in one or both corpora cavernosa of the penis resulting in distortion or deflection of the erect organ

Premature Ejaculation

premature ejaculation
Function: noun
: ejaculation of semen that occurs prior to or immediately after penetration of the vagina by the penis —called also ejaculatio praecox


Pronunciation: \ˈprī-ə-ˌpiz-əm\

Function: noun
: an abnormal, more or less persistent, and often painful erection of the penis; esp: one caused by disease rather than sexual desire


Pronunciation: \ˈpräs-ˌtāt\

Function: noun
: see: prostate gland

Prostate Gland

prostate gland
Function: noun
: a firm partly muscular partly glandular body that is situated about the base of the mammalian male urethra and secretes an alkaline viscid fluid which is a major constituent of the ejaculatory fluid —called also prostate

Prostate-specific Antigen

prostate–specific antigen
Function: noun
: a protease that is secreted by the epithelial cells of the prostate and is used in the diagnosis of prostate cancer since its concentration in the blood serum tends to be proportional to the clinical stage of the disease abbr. PSA


Pronunciation: \ˌpräs-tə-ˈtek-tə-mē\

Function: noun
pl -mies
: surgical removal or resection of the prostate gland

Pudendal Nerve

pudendal nerve
Function: noun
: a nerve that arises from the second, third, and fourth sacral nerves and that supplies the external genitalia, the skin of the perineum, and the anal sphincters

Radiation Therapy

radiation therapy
Function: noun
: see: radiotherapy


Pronunciation: \ˈskrōt-əm\

Function: noun
pl scro*ta
Pronunciation: \-ə\>
or scrotums
: the external sac that in most mammals contains the testes


Pronunciation: \ˈsē-mən\

Function: noun
: a viscid whitish fluid of the male reproductive tract consisting of spermatozoa suspended in secretions of accessory glands (as of the prostate and Cowper's glands)

Seminal Vesicle

seminal vesicle
Function: noun
: either of a pair of glandular pouches that lie one on either side of the male reproductive tract and that in human males secrete a sugar- and protein-containing fluid into the ejaculatory duct

Sexually Transmitted Disease

sexually transmitted disease
Function: noun
: any of various diseases or infections that can be transmitted by direct sexual contact including some (as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and genital herpes) chiefly spread by sexual means and others (as hepatitis B and AIDS) often contracted by nonsexual means —called also STD


Function: abbreviation
transurethral resection of the prostate


Pronunciation: \te-ˈstäs-tə-ˌrōn\

Function: noun
: a male hormone that is a crystalline hydroxy steroid ketone C19H28O2 produced primarily by the testes or made synthetically and that is the main androgen responsible for inducing and maintaining male secondary sex characteristics


Pronunciation: \(ˈ)trī-ˈglis-ə-ˌrīd\

Function: noun
: any of a group of lipids that are esters formed from one molecule of glycerol and three molecules of one or more fatty acids, are widespread in adipose tissue, and commonly circulate in the blood in the form of lipoproteins —called also neutral fat

Ulcerative Colitis

ulcerative colitis
Function: noun
: a chronic inflammatory disease of the colon that is of unknown cause and is characterized by diarrhea with discharge of mucus and blood, cramping abdominal pain, and inflammation and edema of the mucous membrane with patches of ulceration


Pronunciation: \-fē\

Function: noun
pl -phies
: see: ultrasound 2


Pronunciation: \yu-ˈrē-thrə\
Function: noun
1: the canal that in most mammals carries off the urine from the bladder and in the male serves also as a passageway for semen


Pronunciation: \ˌvā-zō-ˈdī-ˌlāt-ər\

Function: noun
: an agent (as a parasympathetic nerve fiber or a drug) that induces or initiates vasodilation

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© 2011 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Inc.