foramen ovale

noun
foramen ova·​le | \ -ō-ˈva-lē How to pronounce foramen ovale (audio) , -ˈvä-, -ˈvā-\

Definition of foramen ovale

1 : an opening in the septum between the two atria of the heart that is normally present only in the fetus During fetal life, this small tunnel, the foramen ovale, allows blood to bypass the lungs … . Yet in as many as 10 percent of people, physicians now estimate, the hole remains open, or patent.— Richard Saltus
2 : an oval opening in the greater wing of the cranial sphenoid bone for passage of a nerve supplying the mouth and jaw

Examples of foramen ovale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Doctors blame a hole in McCabe's heart — more formally called a patent foramen ovale, or PFO — as the cause of the stroke. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Virginia girl, 3, uses FaceTime to save father's life after he suffers stroke," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foramen ovale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of foramen ovale

1677, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for foramen ovale

New Latin, literally, oval opening

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about foramen ovale

Statistics for foramen ovale

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for foramen ovale

The first known use of foramen ovale was in 1677

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for foramen ovale

foramen ovale

noun
foramen ova·​le | \ -ō-ˈva-(ˌ)lē How to pronounce foramen ovale (audio) , -ˈvā- How to pronounce foramen ovale (audio) , -ˈvä- How to pronounce foramen ovale (audio) \

Medical Definition of foramen ovale

1 : an opening in the septum between the two atria of the heart that is normally present only in the fetus
2 : an oval opening in the greater wing of the sphenoid for passage of the mandibular nerve

More from Merriam-Webster on foramen ovale

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about foramen ovale

Comments on foramen ovale

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

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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