aor·​ta ā-ˈȯr-tə How to pronounce aorta (audio)
plural aortas or aortae ā-ˈȯr-tē How to pronounce aorta (audio)
: the great arterial trunk that carries blood from the heart to be distributed by branch arteries through the body see heart illustration
aortic adjective

Examples of aorta in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Instead of having three cusps, or flaps, that let oxygen-rich blood flow from the heart into the aorta and to the rest of the body, people with aortic valve stenosis are often born with just two. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 5 Mar. 2023 Air can get into the blood system and cause an air embolus, but your case consists of a cholesterol embolus, which usually comes from a cholesterol plaque in the heart or the large vessels, like the aorta or the carotid arteries. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 17 July 2023 But Bridges had been born with a common genetic heart defect: aortic valve stenosis, a mutation of the valve in the heart’s main artery, the aorta. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 5 Mar. 2023 She had also been stabbed in the back, a deep wound that pierced her lung and aorta. Lane Sainty, The Arizona Republic, 3 Oct. 2022 The bullet severed his aorta and stopped beneath the skin below his left collar bone. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, 26 July 2022 So at the base of the aorta, where the blood goes to the body, there are two arteries that start and go down through the whole heart. Steven Strogatz, Quanta Magazine, 12 July 2023 In Jackson's case, the right coronary artery, which typically originates from the right side of the aorta, wrapped around the back of his aorta and originated closer to the left coronary artery. Brendan Connelly, The Enquirer, 26 May 2023 Among the victims were 46-year-old Keely Roberts and her son Cooper, 9, who was hit in the back with a bullet that exited his chest, damaging his aorta, liver, esophagus and spinal cord, paralyzing him from the waist down. Kate Hogan, Peoplemag, 28 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aorta.' 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 Medieval Latin, borrowed from Greek aortḗ "aorta, bronchial tubes (in plural aortaí), knapsack," nominal derivative from the stem of aeírein "to join, attach, harness," of uncertain origin

Note: The word appears earlier as Middle English aborchi, abhorti, adorte "aorta," comparable with Middle French aborthi and Medieval Latin adorti; these forms most likely reflect Latin translation of the Arabic versions of Greek medical texts. — The Greek medical term aortḗ belongs to a small set of forms based on aeírein that refer to both attachment and suspension, as áōrto "was hung" ("[máchaira]… pàr xípheos méga kouleón aeìn áōrto" - "[the knife]… was always hung beside the great sheath of his sword"—Iliad 3, 272), aortḗr "belt or strap for hanging a sword or satchel," and aórtēs "knapsack." Perhaps the aorta was pictured as an organ attached to and suspended from the heart in the way a scabbard is hung from a belt. Note that the verb aeírein displays two sets of meanings, that of harnessing and attachment (outside of nominal derivation almost always with the prefix syn- syn-) and of lifting or raising. Whether or not these should be regarded as two verbs of distinct origin or as semantic branches of the same verb is unclear. Though an Indo-European verb base *h2u̯er- can be reconstructed from the Greek evidence, there appear to be no definitely comparable forms outside Greek. See also artery, meteor.

First Known Use

1543, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of aorta was in 1543

Dictionary Entries Near aorta

Cite this Entry

“Aorta.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


aor·​ta ā-ˈȯrt-ə How to pronounce aorta (audio)
plural aortas or aortae -ˈȯrt-ē How to pronounce aorta (audio)
: the main artery that carries blood from the heart to branch arteries by which it is carried throughout the body
aortic adjective

Medical Definition


aor·​ta ā-ˈȯrt-ə How to pronounce aorta (audio)
plural aortas or aortae -ē How to pronounce aorta (audio)
: the large arterial trunk that carries blood from the heart to be distributed by branch arteries through the body

More from Merriam-Webster on aorta

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