\ ˈā-nᵊl How to pronounce anal (audio) \

Definition of anal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, situated near, or involving the anus an anal fin
2 psychoanalytic theory
a : of, relating to, characterized by, or being the stage of psychosexual development which follows the oral stage (see oral entry 1 sense 3) and during which the child is concerned especially with his or her feces
b : of, relating to, characterized by, or being personality traits (such as parsimony, meticulousness, and ill humor) considered typical of fixation at the anal stage of development : anal-retentive an anal disposition often used in nontechnical contexts to describe someone as extremely or excessively neat, careful, or precise I have a mania for neatness in some matters that is almost anal.— Joseph Heller

Definition of anal (Entry 2 of 2)

Other Words from anal


anally \ ˈā-​nᵊl-​ē How to pronounce anal (audio) \ adverb

Examples of anal in a Sentence

Adjective He can be pretty anal about keeping his office neat.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective More cheerfully, younger Chinese are not as superstitious, and so are less likely to believe that a baby born without an anal opening, for example, must be cursed and fit only for abandonment. The Economist, 6 June 2020 Since the attack, India has amended its rape laws, widening the definition to include anal and oral penetration. Vedika Sud, CNN, 19 Mar. 2020 EcoHealth Alliance researchers have long collected blood, urine, feces, and oral and anal swabs from wild bats in China and elsewhere in an effort to solve such puzzles. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, 30 Apr. 2020 Anderson assaulted and abused the wrestler on at least 35 occasions, or 70 total acts of nonconsensual anal penetration and genital fondling, between 1984 and 1989 when the wrestler was between the ages of 17 and 22, the suit alleges. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, 5 Mar. 2020 Aside from skipping the necessary prep work, forgetting to use lube is one of the main reasons why anal can be unpleasant for some people. Sophie Saint Thomas,, 8 Apr. 2020 In 2018, inspectors at one of Mr. Scheiner’s nursing homes in Balch Springs, Texas, spotted a staff member who failed to wash or sanitize her hands before cleaning a resident’s anal area. Jesse Drucker, New York Times, 14 Mar. 2020 Current tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, look for genetic material of the virus, for instance in saliva or nasal, oral, or anal swabs, using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS, 27 Feb. 2020 At one visit, in the spring of 2017, Rannestad could not complete a pelvic exam because of the extreme swelling around Addimando’s vaginal and anal areas. Rachel Louise Snyder, The New Yorker, 20 Dec. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of anal


1769, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for anal


borrowed from New Latin ānālis, from Latin ānus anus + -ālis -al entry 1

Learn More About anal

Dictionary Entries Near anal




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for anal

Cite this Entry

“Anal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for anal


\ ˈā-nᵊl \

Kids Definition of anal

: relating to the anus


\ ˈān-ᵊl How to pronounce anal (audio) \

Medical Definition of anal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or situated near the anus the anal opening anal fissures
2a : of, relating to, or characterized by the stage of psychosexual development in psychoanalytic theory that follows the oral stage and during which a child derives libidinal gratification from the expulsion and retention of the feces and conflict arises from parental demands regarding toilet training During the anal stage, from about 18 months to 3 years, the sphincter muscles become sensitive and controllable and bowel and bladder retention and elimination become a source of gratification.— David G. Myers, Psychology
b : of, relating to, or characterized by personality traits (as orderliness, frugality, and obstinacy) considered typical of fixation at the anal stage of development : anal-retentive often used in nontechnical contexts to describe someone as extremely or excessively neat, careful, or precise — compare genital sense 3, oral sense 3, phallic sense 2

Other Words from anal

anally \ -​ᵊl-​ē How to pronounce anal (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of anal (Entry 2 of 2)

More from Merriam-Webster on anal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for anal

Nglish: Translation of anal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anal for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!