fe·​tus | \ ˈfē-təs How to pronounce fetus (audio) \

Definition of fetus

: an unborn or unhatched vertebrate especially after attaining the basic structural plan of its kind specifically : a developing human from usually two months after conception to birth — compare embryo sense 1a

Examples of fetus in a Sentence

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According to the New York Post, law enforcement said the fetus, discovered at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, may have been left by a teenager. Kitty Stryker, Teen Vogue, "The Fetus Found in an Airplane Bathroom May Have Been Left by a Miscarrying Teen," 9 Aug. 2018 At the same time, researchers are gaining new insights into genetic and environmental influences on the fetus, such as a mother’s obesity or exposure to toxic substances. Laura Landro, WSJ, "The New, Improved World of Infant Care," 16 Sep. 2018 The country’s leaders support a ‘‘yes,’’ an outcome that would repeal a 1983 constitutional amendment requiring authorities to treat a fetus and its mother as equals under the law. BostonGlobe.com, "Referendum in Ireland could lift strict ban on abortion," 25 May 2018 Certainly, a surgical delivery can be lifesaving when, for example, the fetus or the mother is at risk of a serious or fatal complication from a vaginal delivery. Jane E. Brody, New York Times, "The Importance of Infants’ Exposure to Micro-Organisms," 5 Feb. 2018 But even if there was a confession, murder charges likely wouldn’t be filed if authorities determined the mother solicited, aided, abetted or consented to the act that led to the fetus death, the news station reported. Crystal Hill, sacbee, "Pregnant woman had boyfriend punch her in stomach, cops say. It may not be a crime.," 29 June 2018 His team identified nine genes that originated in the placenta that helped to predict exactly how old the growing fetus was. Alice Park, Time, "There May Soon Be a Blood Test for Predicting Premature Births," 7 June 2018 Swallowing is how fetuses practice breathing for the outside. The Cut, The Cut, "The Mom Who Had an Abortion at 8 Months, Then a Surprise Pregnancy," 6 June 2018 But because methadone and buprenorphine are still opioids, a fetus adapted to them is still at risk for withdrawal after birth. Jennifer Egan, New York Times, "Children of the Opioid Epidemic," 9 May 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fetus

Middle English, from Latin, act of bearing young, offspring; akin to Latin fetus newly delivered, fruitful — more at feminine

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Statistics for fetus

Last Updated

25 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for fetus

The first known use of fetus was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for fetus



English Language Learners Definition of fetus

: a human being or animal in the later stages of development before it is born


fe·​tus | \ ˈfē-təs How to pronounce fetus (audio) \

Kids Definition of fetus

: an animal not yet born or hatched but more developed than an embryo


variants: or chiefly British foetus \ ˈfēt-​əs How to pronounce foetus (audio) \
plural fetuses or chiefly British foetuses or foeti\ ˈfēt-​ˌī How to pronounce foeti (audio) \

Medical Definition of fetus

: an unborn or unhatched vertebrate especially after attaining the basic structural plan of its kind specifically : a developing human from usually two months after conception to birth — compare embryo

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More from Merriam-Webster on fetus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fetus

Spanish Central: Translation of fetus

Nglish: Translation of fetus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fetus for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fetus

Comments on fetus

What made you want to look up fetus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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