fe·​tal ˈfē-tᵊl How to pronounce fetal (audio)
: of, relating to, or being a fetus

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law an even more restrictive measure that would ban most abortions in the state after six weeks, with an exception for fatal fetal abnormalities. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, 2 May 2023 These proteins can cause inflammation in fetal brains. Devika Rao, The Week, 18 Apr. 2023 The 15-week ban passed last year included exceptions only for a fatal fetal abnormality or to save the life of the woman. Alexandra Glorioso, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2023 But accumulating evidence now shows that having COVID during pregnancy increases the likelihood of severe outcomes and death in the parent, as well as the possibility of fetal complications. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, 22 Feb. 2023 Campos’ third child, a daughter, was diagnosed with fetal congenital hydrocephalus, a condition that causes cerebrospinal fluid to build up in the brain’s ventricles. Palabra, al, 21 Feb. 2023 Before a Hamilton County judge issued the injunction last fall, abortions were banned in Ohio when fetal cardiac activity could be detected, as early as six weeks. cleveland, 10 Jan. 2023 The law contains no exception for fetal anomalies, which Jenkins raised as a question. CBS News, 7 Oct. 2022 Yuk Ming Dennis Lo won the award for clinical research for his discovery of fetal DNA in maternal blood, reducing the need for invasive and potentially harmful prenatal test procedures. Corinne Purtill, Los Angeles Times, 28 Sep. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fetal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1736, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fetal was in 1736

Dictionary Entries Near fetal

Cite this Entry

“Fetal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fetal. Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


fe·​tal ˈfēt-ᵊl How to pronounce fetal (audio)
: of, relating to, or being a fetus

Medical Definition


variants or chiefly British foetal
: of, relating to, or being a fetus

More from Merriam-Webster on fetal

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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