al·​i·​men·​ta·​ry ˌa-lə-ˈmen-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce alimentary (audio)
: of or relating to nourishment or nutrition
: furnishing sustenance or maintenance

Examples of alimentary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Every gulp of alcohol kills cells that line the alimentary tract. George Johnson, Discover Magazine, 7 Nov. 2013 Feces from axenic cockroaches (no microorganisms in the alimentary tract) lacked 12 major fecal VCAs, and 24 of the remaining compounds were represented at extremely low amounts. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 17 Dec. 2015 My only regret is not having the alimentary bandwidth to try this. Kim Westerman, Forbes, 15 June 2022 The film follows a sonic collective trio with rocky interpersonal dynamics, who take up residency at an institute devoted to culinary and alimentary performance and have to answer to the institute’s head, who has her own opinions about their work. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 10 Feb. 2022 Diarrhea in aging cats can indicate hyperthyroidism or alimentary lymphoma. Star Tribune, 23 July 2021 More recently, in Phase I (from 27 years ago), cashew residue on stones suggests the monkeys were moving towards their present-day alimentary focus. The Economist, 27 June 2019 The Ember will encourage and enable alimentary experimentation. Justin Peters, Slate Magazine, 20 Dec. 2017 By the standard alimentary sequence, insects feed on plants or one another, and then birds hunt down insects. Natalie Angier, New York Times, 22 Sep. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'alimentary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French & New Latin; French alimentaire "relating to nourishment," going back to Middle French, borrowed from New Latin alimentārius, going back to Latin "relating to maintenance by charity, supported by charity," from alimentum "food, sustenance" + -ārius -ary entry 2 — more at aliment entry 1

First Known Use

1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of alimentary was in 1608

Dictionary Entries Near alimentary

Cite this Entry

“Alimentary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


al·​i·​men·​ta·​ry ˌal-ə-ˈment-ə-rē How to pronounce alimentary (audio)
: of or relating to nourishment or nutrition

from Latin alimentarius "relating to or involving the nourishing process," derived from alere "to nourish" — related to alumnus, alma mater

Medical Definition


ˌal-ə-ˈment-ə-rē, -ˈmen-trē
: of, concerned with, or relating to nourishment or to the function of nutrition : nutritive
alimentary processes of the body

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