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see mammary glandmammary gland,
organ of the female mammal that produces and secretes milk for the nourishment of the young. A mammal may have from 1 to 11 pairs of mammary glands, depending on the species. Generally, those mammals that bear larger litters have more glands.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


The human mammary gland, usually well developed in the adult female but rudimentary in the male. Each adult female breast contains 15–20 separate, branching glands that radiate from the nipple. During lactation their secretions are discharged through separate openings at the base of the nipple.

In the female, hormonal changes in adolescence cause enlargement of breast tissue, but much of this is connective tissue although some glandular buds form. With the advent of full menstruation ovarian estrogenic hormones influence breast development. If pregnancy ensues, the glandular tissue reaches full development and full lactation begins shortly after birth. After cessation of lactation the breasts regress considerably and once again reflect cyclic regulation. See Lactation

Breast disorders may result from congenital or developmental abnormalities, inflammations, hormonal imbalances, and, most important, from tumor formation.

Congenital defects are usually unimportant except for their psychic or cosmetic implications. Supernumerary nipples and breasts or accessory breast tissue are common examples.

Inflammations are not encountered frequently and usually result from a staphylococcal or streptococcal invasion incurred during lactation. A special form of inflammation may result from fat necrosis. Although any age is susceptible, older women show a slightly higher incidence of fat necrosis, the commonest cause of which is injury from trauma. See Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Syphilis, Tuberculosis

Hormonal imbalances are believed to be responsible for the variants of the commonest nontumorous breast disorder of women, cystic hyperplasia. The changes are thought to result from exaggeration or distortion of the normal cyclic alterations induced during the menstrual interval. Although a wide range of clinical and pathologic variation is commonplace, three major types or tendencies prevail. The first, called fibrosis or mastodynia, is marked by an increase of connective tissue in the breast, without a proportionate increase in glandular epithelium. The second, cystic disease, is characterized by an increase in the glandular and connective tissues in local areas, with a tendency toward formation of cysts varying in size. The third major type is adenosis, in which glandular hyperplasia is predominant. Each major form of cystic hyperplasia has its own clinical characteristics, ages of highest incidence, and distribution. Each is important because the breast masses which occur require differentiation from benign and malignant tumors. These lesions also have been found to predispose to the subsequent development of carcinoma.

Breast cancer is the most significant lesion of the female breast, accounting for 25,000–30,000 deaths in the United States each year. It rarely occurs before the age of 25, but its incidence increases each year thereafter, with a sharper climb noted about the time of menopause. Early breast cancer may appear as a small, firm mass which is nontender and freely movable. Diagnosis at this time carries a more favorable prognosis than later, when immobility, nipple retraction, lymph node involvement, and other signs of extension or spread are noted. Paget's disease of the nipple is a special form of breast cancer, in which there are early skin changes about the nipple. See Hormone

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


That portion of a wall between the floor and a window above; a defensive wall built about breast high.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


The human mammary gland.
(mining engineering)
In coal mines, a chamber driven in the seam from the gangway, for the extraction of coal.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. A projecting part of a wall, as at a chimney.
2. That portion of a wall between the floor and a window above.
3. The underside of a handrail, beam, rafter, or the like.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


symbol of nourishment and fecundity. [Ren. Art: Hall, 52]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. the front part of the body from the neck to the abdomen; chest
2. either of the two soft fleshy milk-secreting glands on the chest in sexually mature human females
3. a similar organ in certain other mammals
4. a projection from the side of a wall, esp that formed by a chimney
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Dreaming about breasts can have obvious sexual meaning. However, consider all of the details in your dream in order to obtain the most appropriate meaning. Breasts also represent tenderness, love, and other matters of the heart. Breastfeeding is symbolic of giving or receiving, nurturing, and sustenance. It represents motherly love as well as physical and emotional support and well being. Old dream interpretation books say that breastfeeding is a symbol of great things to come following an extended period of hard work.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Former Liverpool shop owner Kim, 69, was well known for her ample bosom but hadn't realised just how ample it had become until she donned her khakis in I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!
Multi-millionaire producer and industrialist Hughes discovered Russell and put her in her first movie, which gave her the sexpot image based on her bosom. Censors held up The Outlaw for almost three years before a limited release in 1943.
Test results show sadly, all my pillows (like bosoms) are far from perfectly formed, but they're old friends and serve their purpose.
And the very idea that if she were two stone heavier and had D-cup bosoms people might have more sympathy is selfpitying twaddle.
Childers' approach may be distilled in how she interprets the un-named "Husband" in Guillaume Apollinaire's "Les Mamelles de Tiresias" (The Breasts of Tiresias) as emblematic of the complex and frequently ambivalent relationship between gender roles and gender politics that constitutes the "silent historiography" of modern French paternity wherein the "links between gender identities and the public good were at the forefront of French debates on national decline, war, population growth." (2) Following his wife's abrogation of her civic duties--spectacularly represented when her bosoms surrealistically fly off like a set of balloons--the now hermaphroditic Husband heroically bears the Nation's children parthenogenetically.
UNDERAGE online gambling remains in the headlines, after some little snitch managed to lie her way into the naive bosoms of Britain's innocent bookies - but the real problem is surely at the other end of the age-scale.
Lots of blood, the horrors of slavery, and lewd interludes with warm flesh and ample bosoms make for a satisfying novel in a series entitled by the author "Sex, Swords, and Sailing Ships." The next book is hinted at when an old enemy, supposedly dead, comes to life again.
The bottles' anthropomorphic shoulders flow into heart-shaped torsos with puffed-out bosoms, and the lower portions fan out into broad skirts edged by drip lines of glaze that read like ruffles.
And this '90s-style swashbuckling romp has plenty of caddish villains and heaving bosoms.
He started by telling us about the people in church, what his mother's friends were like--about ladies with big bosoms who'd sit around on Sundays fanning themselves.
The line is immediately broken, mothers leave their children and fight like hungry wolves, slipping on the ice, falling down, struggling for precious fruits, heaping them to their bosoms.
And Woodburn warned Dec: "I have something about me that young men ogle; get your eyes off my bosoms young man."