intestine

noun
in·​tes·​tine | \ in-ˈte-stən How to pronounce intestine (audio) \

Definition of intestine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the tubular part of the digestive tract that extends from the stomach to the anus — compare large intestine, small intestine

intestine

adjective

Definition of intestine (Entry 2 of 2)

: internal specifically : of or relating to the internal affairs of a state or country intestine war

Illustration of intestine

Illustration of intestine

Noun

intestine: A large intestine,B small intestine

In the meaning defined above

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Noun

We bet you thought "intestine" was a noun referring to a part of the digestive system! It is, of course, but naming that internal body part isn't the word's only function. Both the noun and the adjective "intestine" have been a part of English since the 15th century, and both trace to the Latin adjective intestinus, meaning "internal," and ultimately to intus, meaning "within." Though the adjective "intestine" turns up much less frequently than does its anatomical cousin, it does see occasional use, especially as a synonym for "civil" and "domestic" (in contrast to "foreign") applied to wars and disturbances.

Examples of intestine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some people even enjoy eating the cheese maggots—but the maggots can survive the digestion process and wreak havoc in the intestine, which, unquestionably, is not one of their good attributes. Howard Schneider, WSJ, 28 May 2021 The intestine is the worm’s only major organ and so has to simultaneously function as a liver and stomach as well. Christopher Crockett, Scientific American, 2 Aug. 2013 The entire process of removing the affected intestine and creating the pouch generally takes place over two to three operations. Natasha Lavender, SELF, 14 Apr. 2021 Now, behind glass, between the cadaver lab and a bookstore, a segment of intestine and a piece of a spinal cord sit in stillness. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, 25 Mar. 2021 In 1999, the first vaccine against the rotavirus infection that causes diarrhea in infants was pulled off the market because it was found to increase risk of obstruction of the intestine. New York Times, 16 Mar. 2021 King needed emergency surgery for a perforated intestine. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Mar. 2021 The gun went off and a bullet hit Jayden, piercing his intestine. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, 23 Feb. 2021 The researchers also think there must be some undiscovered organization in the intestine that differentiates front from back. Christopher Crockett, Scientific American, 2 Aug. 2013 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But the vaccine caused an unacceptable side effect: a condition called intussusception, in which the intestine telescopes in on itself and becomes blocked. Matthew Herper, STAT, 13 Apr. 2021 Similarly, it could potentially be used to create intestine organoids to look at how sets of enzymes process food, giving information on Neanderthal diet. Katie Hunt, CNN, 18 June 2020

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for intestine

Noun

Middle English, from Middle French intestin, from Latin intestinum, from neuter of intestinus

Adjective

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French intestin, from Latin intestinus, from intus within — more at ent-

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Time Traveler for intestine

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The first known use of intestine was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

2 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intestine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intestine. Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for intestine

intestine

noun

English Language Learners Definition of intestine

: a long tube in the body that helps digest food after it leaves the stomach

intestine

noun
in·​tes·​tine | \ in-ˈte-stən How to pronounce intestine (audio) \

Kids Definition of intestine

: the lower part of the digestive canal that is a long tube made up of the small intestine and large intestine and in which most of the digestion and absorption of food occurs and through which waste material passes to be discharged

intestine

noun
in·​tes·​tine | \ in-ˈtes-tən How to pronounce intestine (audio) \

Medical Definition of intestine

: the tubular portion of the digestive tract that lies posterior to the stomach from which it is separated by the pyloric sphincter and consists of a slender but long anterior part made up of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum which function in digestion and assimilation of nutrients and a broader shorter posterior part made up of the cecum, colon, and rectum which function in resorption of water from the by-products of digestion and formation of the feces often used in plural the movement of digested food through your intestinesMayo Clinic Health Letter — see large intestine, small intestine

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