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



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


intestine: A large intestine,B small intestine

In the meaning defined above

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: Noun Hill died hours later of a bacterial infection caused by a ruptured intestine. Tribune News Service, al, 24 July 2022 Additionally, NSAIDs can lead to serious gastrointestinal damage, including bleeding, ulceration, and fatal perforation of the stomach and intestine. Chris Smith, BGR, 3 June 2022 Real Parmigiano-Reggiano is made from just three ingredients: locally produced milk no more than 24 hours old, salt and rennet (a natural enzyme taken from calf intestine). Rebecca Ann Hughes, Forbes, 2 June 2022 Another difference is that Crohn’s doesn’t stop at the intestine lining. Tria Wen, SELF, 31 Jan. 2022 Other studies have shown maybe the appendix has some kind of immune function and monitors and samples the contents that go through our intestine. Bebe Hodges, The Enquirer, 27 July 2022 The intestine already contains multiple methods of defense against viral infection. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 26 Mar. 2022 How much corncob a dog could possibly consume without serious injury depends on its size and the diameter of the intestine, Wismer said. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 22 May 2022 One was almost eight hours to give him a new intestine, stomach, liver and pancreas. Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune, 27 Apr. 2022 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 See More

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.

First Known Use of intestine


15th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for intestine


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-

Learn More About intestine

Time Traveler for intestine

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About intestine

Dictionary Entries Near intestine

intestinal fortitude



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for intestine

Last Updated

13 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Intestine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for intestine


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


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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!