hy·​po·​thal·​a·​mus | \ ˌhī-pō-ˈtha-lə-məs How to pronounce hypothalamus (audio) \

Definition of hypothalamus

: a basal part of the diencephalon that lies beneath the thalamus on each side, forms the floor of the third ventricle, and includes vital autonomic regulatory centers

Examples of hypothalamus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

When a stressor occurs, the amygdala region perceives the threat and sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus, which acts like a command center. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "What Science Says About Why You're Stressed and How to Cope," 21 June 2019 Something, perhaps a substance that accumulates in the hypothalamus, might modulate the circadian clock on a multi-day cycle. Quanta Magazine, "Teeth May Reveal a Multi-Day Biological Clock," 13 Dec. 2016 The part of the brain that controls circadian timing is the suprachiasmatic nucleus within the hypothalamus. SELF, "We Asked a Doctor How Much You Need to Care About Your Circadian Rhythm," 4 Sep. 2018 According to the Mayo Clinic, stress affects your brain’s hypothalamus, which is the control center for the hormones that govern your menstrual cycle. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "Can Traveling Really Make Your Period Late?," 10 Aug. 2018 The hypothalamus helps regulate a number of important behavioral and physiological functions such as body temperature, eating and drinking habits, emotional well-being and sleep, according to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Mark Lieber, CNN, "Maintaining a daily rhythm is important for mental health, study suggests," 15 May 2018 Normally, your brain’s hypothalamus releases GnRH, which stimulates your pituitary gland to let loose some FSH and LH. Korin Miller, SELF, "How Long Does a Period Last, Normally?," 17 May 2018 Many can interfere with the activity of the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that helps regulate temperature and thirst. Avichai Scher /, NBC News, "Here's a surprising extreme heat risk for 1 in 6 Americans," 28 June 2018 This produces a stress response in your body—specifically, your brain’s hypothalamus triggers your sympathetic nervous system to release norepinephrine (aka adrenaline) and cortisol (a stress hormone) to get you out of harm’s way. Brittany Risher, SELF, "This Is When to See a Mental Health Professional About Your Anxiety," 2 Feb. 2018

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

1896, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hypothalamus

New Latin

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Statistics for hypothalamus

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for hypothalamus

The first known use of hypothalamus was in 1896

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More Definitions for hypothalamus


hy·​po·​thal·​a·​mus | \ -ˈthal-ə-məs How to pronounce hypothalamus (audio) \
plural hypothalami\ -​ˌmī How to pronounce hypothalami (audio) \

Medical Definition of hypothalamus

: a basal part of the diencephalon that lies beneath the thalamus on each side, forms the floor of the third ventricle, and includes vital autonomic regulatory centers (as for the control of food intake)

More from Merriam-Webster on hypothalamus

Nglish: Translation of hypothalamus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hypothalamus

Comments on hypothalamus

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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