dorsal

noun (1)
dor·sal | \ˈdȯr-səl \

variant of

: an ornamental cloth hung behind and above an altar

dorsal

adjective
dor·sal | \ˈdȯr-səl \

Definition of dorsal (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : relating to or situated near or on the back especially of an animal or of one of its parts

2 : abaxial

dorsal

noun (2)

Definition of dorsal (Entry 3 of 3)

: a dorsally located part especially : a thoracic vertebra

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Other Words from dorsal

Adjective

dorsally \-sə-lē \ adverb

Examples of dorsal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For king salmon, a notch is made in their adipose fin, the small fin on their backs between their large, dorsal fin and their tail. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "King salmon reign shrinks, but more precariously on changing Great Lakes," 23 Oct. 2017 For king salmon, a notch is made in their adipose fin, the small fin on their backs between their large, dorsal fin and their tail. Keith Matheny, USA TODAY, "King salmon reign becomes more precarious on changing Great Lakes," 23 Oct. 2017 Every white cap is a head sticking out of the water, every piece of flotsam is a dorsal fin. James Griffiths, CNN, "Soon all of Hong Kong's dolphins will be dead," 21 Sep. 2017 Late at night, the ids of his callers and guests flash like dorsal fins. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "A Late-Night Radio Drama, With Hints of the Internet to Come," 21 Sep. 2017 Also called suckerfish, their strong grip comes from an adhesive disk made from a modified dorsal fin on the fish’s head. Science | AAAS, "This robotic ‘remora’ can cling to objects with a force 340 times its own weight," 20 Sep. 2017 The hook goes through the bridge of the nose, or in just behind the dorsal fin. Frank Sargeant, AL.com, "Live baiting for Alabama bass," 10 Sep. 2017 In rats, for example, females typically have less-dense receptors in the dorsal hippocampus, which is involved in memory, than do males. Alison Gopnik, WSJ, "Do Men and Women Have Different Brains?," 25 Aug. 2017 A dorsal fin would have looked less out of place in the photo than a vehicle. Amy B Wang, Washington Post, "Harvey turned part of Interstate 10 into a roaring river — with actual waves," 30 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Among the brain’s many pain-producing patterns, however, there is only one region that is consistently active at a high level: the dorsal posterior region of the insula. Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker, "The Neuroscience of Pain," 9 May 2016 Arctic grayling males are more colorful than their female counterparts and sport a much longer dorsal fin. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "While waiting for winter to become summer, outdoors lovers turn to beauty pageants," 23 Apr. 2018 To add support for the dual origin hypothesis, Dr. Linz said, evolution would have had to fuse a structure on the dorsal region of the segment and one from the pleural tissue. Asher Elbein, New York Times, "Insects Flew Before Anything Else Did. So How Did They Get Their Wings?," 26 Mar. 2018 Conversely, Willamette chinook may be longer and a bit leaner, with less dorsal brilliance. Bill Monroe, OregonLive.com, "Columbia, Willamette spring salmon have different coloring," 29 Mar. 2018 Three brain areas work together to stop body movement: the dorsal part of the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (red), the ventral part of the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (blue) and the bilateral frontal eye fields (green). Ben Tinker, CNN, "How to hit your brain's 'kill switch' -- before it's too late," 8 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dorsal.' 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 dorsal

Adjective

1727, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1834, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dorsal

Adjective

Late Latin dorsalis, from Latin dorsum back

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Dictionary Entries near dorsal

dorring

dors-

dorsad

dorsal

dorsal column

dorsale

dorsal fin

Phrases Related to dorsal

dorsal fin

Statistics for dorsal

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Time Traveler for dorsal

The first known use of dorsal was in 1727

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More Definitions for dorsal

dorsal

adjective
dor·sal | \ˈdȯr-səl \

Kids Definition of dorsal

: relating to or being on or near the surface of the body that in humans is the back but in most animals is the upper surface a fish's dorsal fin

dorsal

adjective
dor·sal | \ˈdȯr-səl \

Medical Definition of dorsal 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : being or located near, on, or toward the upper surface of an animal (as a quadruped) opposite the lower or ventral surface

b : being or located near, on, or toward the back or posterior part of the human body

2 chiefly British : thoracic

Other Words from dorsal

dorsally \-sə-lē \ adverb

dorsal

noun

Medical Definition of dorsal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a dorsally located part especially : a thoracic vertebra

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