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 2
distallyplay \-təl-ē\ adverb
Recent Examples of distal from the Web
Surgeons can close the hole and create a valve, but long-term outcomes vary, in large part because some patients also have undersized distal pulmonary arteries.
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.
Origin and Etymology of distal
distant + -al
First Known Use: 1803See Words from the same year
Medical Definition of distal
1: situated away from the point of attachment or origin or a central point: asa: located away from the center of the body the distal end of a bone—compare proximal 1ab: located away from the mesial plane of the body—compare mesial 2c: 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 3, proximal 1b
2: physical or social rather than sensory—compare proximal 2
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up distal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).