cath·e·ter | \ˈka-thə-tər, ˈkath-tər\

Definition of catheter 

: a tubular medical device for insertion into canals, vessels, passageways, or body cavities usually to permit injection or withdrawal of fluids or to keep a passage open — compare balloon catheter

Examples of catheter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Treatment options include medications and a surgical procedure, catheter ablation, that destroys small areas of heart tissue that are causing rhythm problems. Emily Sohn, Washington Post, "Everyone has heart palpitations, but for some it can be serious," 7 Mar. 2018 The outcome of the trial raises questions about the procedure, known as catheter ablation, to treat patients with atrial fibrillation. Peter Loftus, WSJ, "Heart Device Procedure Is No Better Than Drug Therapy for Irregular Heartbeat: Study," 10 May 2018 Her rectal catheter was removed today and there was feces on it, which is a good sign. Kelli Bender,, "Cat Fighting for Life After Someone Sets Firecracker Off Inside of Her," 11 July 2018 Quick treatment makes big difference Hospitals have been working on the problem for years, and their initiatives — including faster diagnosis and treatment, and removing catheters before infections set in — have led to some dramatic improvements. Karen Weintraub, STAT, "Sepsis is the third leading cause of death. Can a new blood test change that?," 3 July 2018 His mother remembers when the first supply arrived, at a cost of $3,500, and the insurance company refused to pay, as if her son’s catheters were a luxury. Mary Schmich,, "He was a Walter Payton senior with college dreams. Two years after being paralyzed by gunfire, Jonathan Annicks pushes forward.," 5 May 2018 During ablation surgery, a doctor snakes a catheter into the heart to intentionally scar these hyperactive hot spots. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "This Pro Skydiver Was Invincible—Until his Heart Stopped Beating Regularly," 22 June 2018 Urinary tract infections caused by bacteria in catheters are relatively common medical complications. Andy Marso, kansascity, "VA inflated catheter in Missouri man's penis, causing bleeding then death, suit says," 4 June 2018 The procedure involves guiding a probe through the rhino’s rectum into an ovary, then drawing eggs out through a catheter. Daniel Fernandez, Smithsonian, "Can the Northern White Rhino Be Brought Back From the Brink of Extinction?," 22 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of catheter

1601, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for catheter

Late Latin, from Greek kathetēr, from kathienai to send down, from kata- cata- + hienai to send — more at jet

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about catheter

Statistics for catheter

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for catheter

The first known use of catheter was in 1601

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for catheter



English Language Learners Definition of catheter

medical : a thin tube that is put into the body to remove or inject a liquid or to keep a passage open


cath·e·ter | \ˈkath-ət-ər, ˈkath-tər \

Medical Definition of catheter 

: a tubular medical device for insertion into canals, vessels, passageways, or body cavities for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes (as to permit injection or withdrawal of fluids or to keep a passage open)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on catheter

Spanish Central: Translation of catheter

Nglish: Translation of catheter for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on catheter

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


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!