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

Recent Examples on the Web It's often diagnosed during the second trimester, at which point families are faced with a decision: terminate the pregnancy, or try to carry the fetus to term. Holly V. Hays, The Indianapolis Star, "WISH-TV's Brooke Martin welcomes baby girl 1 year after losing daughter to anencephaly," 27 May 2020 The singer announced her pregnancy in January, posting a photo of herself on Instagram with a fetus photoshopped in her stomach. NBC News, "Grimes explained her and Elon Musk's unusual baby name — and people are still confused," 6 May 2020 Pregnant swamp wallabies always have another viable embryo ready while a fetus develops. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's Magazine, "Findings," 27 Apr. 2020 The baby's heartbeat was so much faster than mine – 176 beats per minute, a normal and healthy heart rate for a 12-week-old fetus. Robin Amer, USA Today, "I was panicking over coronavirus. Then I heard my baby’s heartbeat.," 22 Apr. 2020 Barefoot was charged Monday in Floyd Circuit Court with several counts of causing death when operating a vehicle while intoxicated as well as involuntary manslaughter - killing a fetus, according to online court records. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville woman charged in deadly wrong-way crash on I-265 in Southern Indiana," 21 Apr. 2020 Recently, a study out of China, which admittedly relied on a very small sample size of pregnant women, suggested that COVID-19 is not transmitted to fetuses during pregnancy. Jessica Zucker, Good Housekeeping, "Should I Stop Trying to Have a Baby Because of the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak?," 18 Mar. 2020 In pregnant Covid-19 patients, clots may impair blood supply to the fetus, leading to complications associated with miscarriages and low birth weight, doctors in New York reported last month. Jason Gale, Fortune, "Doctors warn of emerging COVID-19 symptom: dangerous blood clots," 5 May 2020 It is currently believed that pregnant women do not transmit the virus to the fetus, but new studies from China looking at the illness in newborns and children have made many providers uneasy. Nina Martin, ProPublica, "They Didn’t Have Coronavirus Symptoms Until After They Gave Birth. Then They Tested Positive.," 27 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for fetus

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fetus

Last Updated

5 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fetus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fetus. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for fetus


How to pronounce fetus (audio)

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

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