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intestine

adjective in·tes·tine \ in-ˈte-stən \

Definition of intestine

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

intestine was our Word of the Day on 07/27/2012. Hear the podcast!

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.

Origin and Etymology of intestine

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


2

intestine

noun

Definition of intestine

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

Recent Examples of intestine from the Web

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.

Illustration of intestine

Origin and Etymology of intestine

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


INTESTINE Defined for English Language Learners

intestine

noun

Definition of intestine for English Language Learners

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


INTESTINE Defined for Kids

intestine

noun in·tes·tine \ in-ˈte-stən \

Definition of intestine for Students

: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

Medical Dictionary

intestine

noun in·tes·tine \ in-ˈtes-tən \

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 intestines
  • Mayo Clinic Health Letter
— see large intestine, small intestine


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