\ˈbä-dē \
plural bodies

Definition of body 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the main part of a plant or animal body especially as distinguished from limbs and head : trunk held her arms close to her body a bird with a yellow body and head and black markings on its wings

b : the main, central, or principal part: such as

(1) architecture : the nave of a church

(2) : the bed or box of a vehicle on or in which the load is placed

(3) : the enclosed or partly enclosed part of an automobile the truck's body, hood, and fenders

2a : the organized physical substance of an animal or plant either living or dead She has a muscular body. body parts normal body temperature : such as

(1) : the material part or nature of a human being when the soul leaves the body

(2) : a dead organism : corpse The body was shipped home for burial.

b : a human being : person What's a body to do?

3a : a mass of matter distinct from other masses a body of water the movements of celestial bodies

b : something that embodies or gives concrete reality to a thing his intuitions of the future may still give body to a better worldNew York Times also : a sensible object in physical space

c : aggregate, quantity a body of evidence

4a clothing : the part of a garment covering the trunk or torso the body of a wet suit

b : the main part of a literary or journalistic work : text sense 2b The body of the article is devoted to an analysis of the problem.

c : the sound box or pipe of a musical instrument

5 : a group of persons or things: such as

a : a fighting unit : force a body of cavalry

b : a group of individuals organized for some purpose a legislative body the university's student body

6a : fullness and richness of flavor (as of wine) a wine with full body

b : viscosity, consistency used especially of oils and grease

c : denseness, fullness, or firmness of texture Her hair lacks body and shine.

d music : fullness or resonance (see resonance sense 2) of a musical tone


bodied; bodying

Definition of body (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to give form or shape to : embody

2 : represent, symbolize usually used with forth never been a poet who enjoyed the sensuous world with more gusto … or who more solidly bodied it forth— Edmund Wilson

3 basketball, informal : to use one's body to forcefully block or move (an opposing player) If Jordan spins past him or bodies him away, Russell won't give up on the play.— Ian Thomsen often used with up The most physical player this side of Shaq, Artest not only bodies up forwards but also has the quickness to defend shooting guards.— L. Jon Wertheim

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Examples of body in a Sentence


a part of the body Her body is very muscular. A bird's body is covered in feathers. This species has a black body and a white head. She held her arms tightly against her body. There was extensive damage to the truck's body. The body of the bus is almost entirely rusted out.


abstract sculpture that bodies forth the artist's aesthetic of minimalism
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But there are still too many plus-size characters obsessed with losing weight or hating their bodies. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Netflix's Dumplin' Has the Plus-Size Heroine I've Been Waiting For," 7 Dec. 2018 That could mean feeling more in touch and connected with your body. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "How do you sell erotica to millennial women? Make it more like podcasts.," 6 Dec. 2018 Based on witness interviews and more than 90 videos captured by officers’ body cameras, Young said Officer Drew Limbaugh did not know who Black was and fired when the homeowner refused police commands to drop his handgun. Kathleen Foody, The Seattle Times, "Prosecutor: No charges against officer who shot homeowner," 3 Dec. 2018 After a vicious fight, Jamie (of course) slays him and brings his body to the Indians. Outlander Fan, Marie Claire, "5 Biggest Takeaways From 'Outlander' Season 4 Episode 4," 26 Nov. 2018 Two kinds of bugs feature in this issue of Discover as well: One type lives in our homes, another in our bodies. Discover Magazine, "Table of Contents Dec 2018," 24 Nov. 2018 Park rangers had to use helicopters and rock climbing techniques to recover their bodies. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "A Married Couple Died After Falling 800 Feet at Yosemite National Park," 30 Oct. 2018 The New York Police Department pulled nearly 3,000 body cameras off the streets after one exploded inside a Staten Island precinct early Sunday. Fox News, "NYPD pulls 3,000 body cams off street after one exploded," 22 Oct. 2018 The New York City Police Department has been working for years to test and outfit its entire force with body cameras, with a goal of having one for every officer by next year. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "The NYPD is pulling thousands of body cameras after one ‘burst into flames’," 21 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

These wines are light bodied but have lots of character: brambly red and black fruits, baking spices and a soft texture unique to this region. Laura Giannatempo, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Wine to Pair With Turkey, According to Wine Experts," 15 Nov. 2018 This one is their most basic bottling, a light to medium bodied, slightly rustic red wine with an earthy, slightly spicy nose. Lettie Teague, WSJ, "The Budget-Wine Hall of Fame," 29 Mar. 2018 Fuller-bodied than many California pinots, the Artesa bottling is packed with aromas and flavors of cherries, raspberries and plums along with a lovely floral component. Dave Eckert, kansascity, "A handful of wine recommendations as winter ends and spring begins | The Kansas City Star," 26 Mar. 2018 The resulting wine is fragrant, light- to medium-bodied and dry, the acacia adding floral, smoky and caramel notes to the wine’s basically citric flavor. Mike Dunne, sacbee, "Bright and intriguing wines in full bloom at these four foothill wineries | The Sacramento Bee," 9 May 2018 More details: NKY Medicaid forum: Able-bodied must job train or volunteer More: Want to keep Medicaid? Chris Mayhew,, "A federal judge will decide whether Ky. Medicaid work rules start July 1 in NKY," 28 June 2018 Dance phrases are all admirably full bodied and three-dimensional, with upper and lower halves of the body equally active. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, "‘Carousel’ Dances Are a New Feather in the Enigmatic Justin Peck’s Cap," 19 Apr. 2018 Family and development Brady spent the past year as a freshman at Boston University, where the big-bodied forward (6 feet 3 inches, 196 pounds) posted 31 points (eight goals, 23 assists) and 61 penalty minutes in 40 games this past season. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Armed with a family legacy, Brady Tkachuk prepares to make his own name in the NHL," 19 June 2018 Aged on lees in stainless steel tanks, this is a soft, medium-bodied wine with a bit of a tropical note. 4. Lettie Teague, WSJ, "An Under-the-Radar Italian Wine Made for Summer Drinking," 31 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of body


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for body


Middle English, from Old English bodig; akin to Old High German boteh corpse


see body entry 1

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Statistics for body

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for body

The first known use of body was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for body



English Language Learners Definition of body

: a person's or animal's whole physical self

: a dead person or animal

: the main physical part of a person or animal


\ˈbä-dē \
plural bodies

Kids Definition of body

1 : the physical whole of a live or dead person or animal the human body

2 : the main part of a person, animal, or plant She held her arms tightly against her body.

3 : a human being The resort offered everything a body could want.

4 : the main or central part the body of a letter

5 : the main part of a motor vehicle

6 : a group of persons or things united for some purpose a body of troops

7 : a mass or portion of something distinct from other masses a body of water

Other Words from body

bodied \ˈbäd-​ēd \ adjective long-bodied animals


\ˈbäd-ē \
plural bodies

Medical Definition of body 

1a : the organized physical substance of an animal or plant either living or dead: as

(1) : the material part or nature of a human being

(2) : a dead organism : corpse

b : a human being

2a : the main part of a plant or animal body especially as distinguished from limbs and head : trunk

b : the main part of an organ (as the uterus)

3 : a kind or form of matter : a material substance

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More from Merriam-Webster on body

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with body

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for body

Spanish Central: Translation of body

Nglish: Translation of body for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of body for Arabic Speakers

Comments on body

What made you want to look up body? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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