\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

The infection can spread from the intestines to the blood stream and other parts of the body. CBS News, "CDC warning on Kellogg's Honey Smacks: "Do not eat this cereal"," 13 July 2018 The body would remain there for more than a decade. Samantha Schmidt, Houston Chronicle, "She found her father's child porn images of herself, then killed him - and kept it secret for 12 years," 13 July 2018 The same bands were found in the field near the body. Tonya Alanez,, "Murder was elaborately staged suicide, police say," 13 July 2018 Unlike light, the x-rays can penetrate the human body. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Check Out These Awesome New 3D, Full-Color X-Rays," 13 July 2018 The body looks slick, with a new and thoroughly modern appearance that's much more in keeping with the modern style of truck: high belt line, smaller windows and chunkier style. Aaron Bragman, USA TODAY, "Review: Ford's revamped Expedition SUV moves to the front of the pack," 13 July 2018 Chronic social stress can also shift the body’s physiology, predisposing people to disease. Clay Marsh, STAT, "Facing deaths of despair from the depths of despair in West Virginia," 12 July 2018 It's estimated that at least half the nitrogen in the human body today comes from a synthetic ammonia plant. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Ammonia—a renewable fuel made from sun, air, and water—could power the globe without carbon," 12 July 2018 In both cases, the body senses danger and behavior normally follows which would terminate the stimulus. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Some Like It Hot," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 According to clinical sexologist and host of 'Sexplantions,' Lindsey Doe, women need about 18 to 20 minutes of foreplay to become fully aroused, more than the average male-bodied person. Gigi Engle, Marie Claire, "Why Can't I Have an Orgasm?," 28 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

17 Oct 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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