dis·​tal | \ ˈdi-stᵊl How to pronounce distal (audio) \

Definition of distal

1 anatomy : situated away from the point of attachment or origin or a central point especially of the body — compare proximal the distal ends of the tibia and fibula
2 dentistry : of, relating to, or being the surface of a tooth that is next to the tooth behind it or that is farthest from the middle of the front of the jaw — compare mesial sense 2

Other Words from distal

distally \ ˈdi-​stᵊl-​ē How to pronounce distal (audio) \ adverb

Examples of distal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The scientists extracted a piece of distal articular cartilage from the right femur of this specimen, decalcified it, and used different microscopy and chemical methods to analyze it. David Bressan, Forbes, 24 Sep. 2021 The location of the fracture determines what that involves—the femoral shaft is divided into thirds: distal, middle, and proximal. Claire Gillespie, Health.com, 22 Feb. 2021 Both the distal tips and the quills at the base are typically overwrapped during the weaving process, with the downy portions exposed. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 28 Nov. 2020 The part at the distal end, namely getting into people's arms, is going to be more challenging than just a regular flu season. NBC News, 29 Nov. 2020 Instead only the most distal ones are homologous to digit bones; the proximal radials are homologous to the wrist bones and the long bones of the palm. John A. Long, Scientific American, 20 May 2020 Shortly after exhuming the finger bone, the anthropologists who made the find cut it in half and sent the proximal end to the Max Planck Institute in Germany and the distal end (the very tip of the finger) to the University of California, Berkeley. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 4 Sep. 2019 Multiple healed scars of the face, chin and volar surface distal phalanges of the fingers of both hands. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, 2 Aug. 2019 Those who scored high on creativity were rated as better at using distal imagination. Knvul Sheikh, Scientific American, 22 May 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of distal

1803, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for distal

distant + -al

Learn More About distal

Dictionary Entries Near distal



distal convoluted tubule

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for distal

Cite this Entry

“Distal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distal. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for distal


dis·​tal | \ ˈdis-tᵊl How to pronounce distal (audio) \

Medical Definition of distal

1 : situated away from the point of attachment or origin or a central point: as
a : located away from the center of the body the distal end of a bone — compare proximal sense 1a
b : located away from the mesial plane of the body — compare mesial sense 2
c : of, relating to, or being the surface of a tooth that is next to the following tooth counting from the middle of the front of the upper or lower jaw or that faces the back of the mouth in the case of the last tooth on each side — compare mesial sense 3, proximal sense 1b
2 : physical or social rather than sensory — compare proximal sense 2

Other Words from distal

distally \ -​ē How to pronounce distal (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on distal

Britannica English: Translation of distal for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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