ab·​do·​men | \ ˈab-də-mən How to pronounce abdomen (audio) , -ˌdō-; əb-ˈdō-mən, ab- How to pronounce abdomen (audio) \
plural abdomens

Definition of abdomen

1 : the part of the body between the thorax and the pelvis … well-defined reddish lesions that can appear anywhere on the body but most often on the thighs and abdomen— Susan Logan-McCracken also : the cavity of the abdomen that is lined by peritoneum, is bounded above by the diaphragm, anteriorly by a wall of muscle and tissue, and posteriorly by the spinal column, is continuous below with the pelvic cavity, and contains many of the visceral organs and especially those involved in digestion (such as the stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines) : abdominal cavity Removal of the gallbladder—a pear-shaped sac in the right side of your abdomen—has little adverse effect on digestion. The Mayo Clinic Health Letter
2 : the posterior section of the body behind the thorax in an arthropod On a nearby table was a … dish of ants that looked familiar except that they had been feeding on peach nectar and the abdomen of each was a large, swollen, translucent sac.The New Yorker — see insect illustration

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Synonyms for abdomen


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Examples of abdomen in a Sentence

showed us a tiny tattoo on her abdomen, right next to her belly button
Recent Examples on the Web At least two gunmen fired multiple shots into the apartment, and a bullet hit McClarin in the abdomen. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "One dead, two injured after gunshots fired into apartment in Cleveland’s Kinsman neighborhood," 17 Sep. 2020 An unidentified man was shot in the abdomen on Sunday evening in the 200 block of Baronne Street, about three blocks away from Tuesday's slaying. Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, "1 dead, 2 detained in CBD shooting were Hurricane Laura evacuees, police say," 8 Sep. 2020 The victim, 28, was shot in the abdomen during an argument involving a group of people. Deanese Williams-harris, chicagotribune.com, "1 dead, 12 wounded, including 4-year-old boy, in shootings as Labor Day weekend begins," 5 Sep. 2020 Owens caught up to the man, who turned and shot Owens in the abdomen below his bulletproof vest. CBS News, "Arrests made after Cleveland officer shot dead; 2nd cop dies by suicide," 4 Sep. 2020 Owens caught up to the man, who turned and shot Owens in the abdomen below his bulletproof vest. Mark Gillispie, Star Tribune, "Undercover drug detective, informant killed in Cleveland; 3 are arrested," 4 Sep. 2020 Waxy projections from the abdomen are especially developed in this beautiful species from the rainforests of Central America. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "The World’s Most Interesting Insects," 29 Apr. 2020 Video from bystanders showed a chaotic scene near a busy intersection in the city of Kenosha shortly before midnight, in which a male used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to kill one man with a blast to the head and another with a shot to the abdomen. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Illinois teen charged with homicide in shooting deaths of two people during Kenosha protests," 26 Aug. 2020 Kunis of California, for instance, has put off getting a CT scan at his doctor’s suggestion despite having a pain in his abdomen. Jessica Menton, USA TODAY, "'We shouldn’t have to beg': Americans struggle without unemployment aid as Congress stalls on extending benefits," 25 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abdomen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of abdomen

circa 1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for abdomen

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin abdōmen "fat underpart of an animal, belly, paunch," of uncertain origin

Note: Often seen as a derivative of abdere, "to hide, conceal," i.e., "that which is hidden," based on a nominal ablaut form *dhoh1- from the root *dheh1- "put." However, Latin abdōmen refers primarily to a body part of animals, and more or less humorously of humans; such usage suggests something prominent rather than something concealed, so the derivation looks somewhat unlikely.

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Time Traveler for abdomen

Time Traveler

The first known use of abdomen was circa 1541

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Statistics for abdomen

Last Updated

21 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abdomen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abdomen. Accessed 26 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for abdomen


How to pronounce abdomen (audio) How to pronounce abdomen (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of abdomen

: the part of the body below the chest that contains the stomach and other organs
: the rear part of an insect's body


ab·​do·​men | \ ˈab-də-mən How to pronounce abdomen (audio) , ab-ˈdō- \

Kids Definition of abdomen

1 : the part of the body between the chest and the hips including the cavity containing the stomach and other digestive organs
2 : the hind part of the body of an arthropod (as an insect)


ab·​do·​men | \ ˈab-də-mən, -ˌdō-; əb-ˈdō-mən, ab- How to pronounce abdomen (audio) \

Medical Definition of abdomen

1a : the part of the body between the thorax and the pelvis with the exception of the back

called also belly

b : the cavity of this part of the trunk lined by the peritoneum, enclosed by the body walls, the diaphragm, and the pelvic floor, and containing the visceral organs (as the stomach, intestines, and liver)
c : the portion of this cavity between the diaphragm and the brim of the pelvis — compare pelvic cavity
2 : the posterior often elongated region of the body behind the thorax in arthropods

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