dis·​tend·​ed | \ di-ˈsten-dəd How to pronounce distended (audio) \

Definition of distended

: enlarged, expanded, or stretched out (as from internal pressure) The abdomen was mildly distended with moderate tenderness …— Timothy Melester et al. Pre-Columbian jewelry worn in a large hole made in a greatly distended earlobe.— H. Newman And she began to preen herself and to rearrange her feathers, while Daggie lay down again on his distended stomach and gazed out the doorway.— Dick King-Smith

When Should You Use distended?

Before giving you a shot, the nurse may wrap a rubber tube around your upper arm to distend the veins. When the heart isn't pumping properly, the skin of the feet and ankles may become distended. A doctor who notices that an internal organ has become distended will always want to find out the cause. As you can see, distended tends to be a medical term.

First Known Use of distended

1578, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of distended was in 1578

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Cite this Entry

“Distended.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distended. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on distended

Nglish: Translation of distended for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of distended for Arabic Speakers


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