aor·​ta | \ ā-ˈȯr-tə How to pronounce aorta (audio) \
plural aortas or aortae\ ā-​ˈȯr-​tē How to pronounce aorta (audio) \

Definition of aorta

: the great arterial trunk that carries blood from the heart to be distributed by branch arteries through the body — see heart illustration

Other Words from aorta

aortic \ ā-​ˈȯr-​tik How to pronounce aorta (audio) \ adjective

Examples of aorta in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web His aorta, the body’s main artery, started to come apart during the surgery, which could have been another contributing factor. Amy Dockser Marcus And Joseph De Avila, WSJ, 6 May 2022 The blood vessels in your body go from very large (the aorta, which takes the blood directly from the heart, is the largest) all the way down to the capillaries, the very smallest. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 8 Apr. 2022 In the ensuing melee, one of the assailants plunged a knife into Tyshon’s chest, severing his aorta. Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2022 Head coach Jim Harbaugh made headlines in 2019 when the Wolverines decided to honor Johnson's full ride after ongoing issues related to a congenital defect with his aorta forced him to quit playing. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, 10 Dec. 2021 The force of his blood ripped open the innermost layer of his aorta, spilling blood between the other muscular stratums. Sabrina Qiao,, 23 Nov. 2021 She was stabbed in each breast and in the back, which damaged her aorta and left lung. Kc Baker,, 16 Nov. 2021 That meant that blood ejected from his heart into his aorta, the main artery in his body, was gushing back into his heart. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Oct. 2021 And the clot moved into her aorta, cutting off circulation to her right leg and weakening her left leg., 24 Aug. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of aorta

1543, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aorta

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.

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aortic arch

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aorta.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for aorta


aor·​ta | \ ā-ˈȯr-tə How to pronounce aorta (audio) \

Kids Definition of aorta

: the main artery that carries blood from the heart for distribution to all parts of the body


aor·​ta | \ ā-ˈȯrt-ə How to pronounce aorta (audio) \
plural aortas or aortae\ -​ē How to pronounce aorta (audio) \

Medical Definition of aorta

: 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

Nglish: Translation of aorta for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aorta for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about aorta


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