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 Her aorta, liver, lungs and stomach were repeatedly penetrated by a sharp blade, a medical examiner said in determining the death was a homicide. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2022 The bullet tore through his body, severely damaging his aorta, liver, esophagus and spinal cord before exiting through his chest. CBS News, 27 July 2022 Faulkner suffered a tear in his aorta in 2019 and soon after, his kidneys failed him. Rodney Ho, ajc, 4 July 2022 Per the Mayo Clinic, an aortic dissection occurs when the inner layer of the body’s main artery tears, allowing blood to rush through and split the middle and inner layers of the aorta. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 27 June 2022 Performances were a production’s aorta, its life source, its raison d’etre. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 May 2022 The aorta problem during surgery could also have been a factor, as could the reduction in anti-immune medication, along with the CMV, Mohiuddin said. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, 5 May 2022 The pilot who became unconscious during a flight in Florida last week, leading to a miraculous landing from a passenger with no flying experience, has been released from the hospital after undergoing surgery for a tear in his aorta, Today reported. Maria Pasquini,, 17 May 2022 In that form, blood flow is partially blocked from the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber, to the aorta. Jared S. Hopkins, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2022 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

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aorta.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 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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