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in·​tes·​tine in-ˈte-stən How to pronounce intestine (audio)
: the tubular part of the digestive tract that extends from the stomach to the anus compare large intestine, small intestine

Illustration of intestine

Illustration of intestine
  • A large intestine
  • B small intestine


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

Did you know?

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
Booze slows down your digestive system, which can delay the movement of poop and other waste through your intestines, Sauceda says. Ashia Aubourg, SELF, 31 Aug. 2023 For the gut retreat, expect a comprehensive GI test upon arrival, in which a stool sample is sent away to a lab to identify specific bacteria, plus an intravenous liver detox containing glutathione and vitamin C, and colon hydrotherapy, which flushes out your intestines with gallons of water. Mary Holland, Robb Report, 27 Aug. 2023 Your intestines are a muscular tube that winds about 25 feet in your abdomen, the last five of which are home to the gut microbes. Jessica Migala, Women's Health, 24 July 2023 Unlike with a hernia (which is an actual hole or defect in the abdominal wall), there's no possibility of the intestines getting stuck inside and damaged, Dr. Brenner explains. Alesandra Dubin, Parents, 6 Sep. 2023 The bacteria commonly found on the wristbands included types of Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas bacteria—commonly found on the skin—and certain Escherichia bacteria, specifically E. coli, found in the intestines. Korin Miller, Health, 2 Sep. 2023 He’s had two recent surgeries: a bladder removal in 2021 after a cancer diagnosis and an operation on his intestines in 2022. Adithi Ramakrishnan, Dallas News, 24 Aug. 2023 These allergens can trigger inflammation in the intestines and lead to symptoms associated with IBS. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 13 Aug. 2023 Dandelion root contains inulin, which is a dietary fiber, and prebiotics, while chamomile and peppermint can help relax the intestines and keeps things moving. Emilia Benton, Women's Health, 11 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History



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


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

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above

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


Dictionary Entries Near intestine

Cite this Entry

“Intestine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the part of the alimentary canal that is a long tube composed of the small intestine and the large intestine, that extends from the stomach to the anus, that helps to digest food and absorb nutrients and water, and that carries waste matter to be discharged

Medical Definition


in·​tes·​tine in-ˈtes-tən How to pronounce intestine (audio)
: 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
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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