pa·​ri·​e·​tal | \ pə-ˈrī-ə-tᵊl How to pronounce parietal (audio) \

Definition of parietal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to the walls of a part or cavity
b : of, relating to, or located near or within the parietal bone or parietal lobe of the head
2 : attached to the main wall rather than the axis or a cross wall of a plant ovary used of an ovule or a placenta
3 dated : of or relating to college living or its regulation especially : of or relating to parietals (see parietal entry 2 sense 2) All of this takes place in a residential environment no longer constrained by the parietal hours that the older set of today's parents will recall. One of the signature changes in the student revolt of the late sixties/early seventies was the end not only of curfew hours for residence halls but also of housing separated by sex. — Barrett Seaman



Definition of parietal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a parietal part (such as a bone, scale, or plate)
2 parietals plural, dated : the regulations governing the visiting privileges of members of the opposite sex in campus dormitories

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Did You Know?


Fifteenth-century scientists first used "parietal" (from Latin paries, meaning "wall of a cavity or hollow organ") to describe a pair of bones of the roof of the skull between the frontal and posterior bone. Later, "parietal" was also applied to structures connected to or found in the same general area as these bones; the parietal lobe, for example, is the middle division of each hemisphere of the brain. In the 19th century, botanists adopted "parietal" as a word for ovules and placentas attached to the walls of plant ovaries. It was also in the 19th century that "parietal" began to be heard on college campuses, outside of the classroom; in 1837, Harvard College established the Parietal Committee to be in charge of "all offences against good order and decorum within the walls."

Examples of parietal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The second was the anterior insula, which is folded into the deep fissure between the parietal and frontal lobes. Sara Harrison, Wired, "Your Brain Prefers Happy Endings. That’s Not Always Smart," 22 Oct. 2020 The right superior parietal lobule, an area used to construct one's total body image, also had reduced connectivity and a reduced density of gray matter, indicating less neuron activity. Ryan Prior, CNN, "Understanding the rare condition that makes people want to amputate their own limbs," 7 May 2020 As the images flipped rapidly past, the researchers looked for activity in a region of the canine brain called the parietotemporal cortex, analogous to humans’ parietal cortex, which is known to help people rapidly process numbers. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Dogs’ Brains Naturally Process Numbers, Just Like Ours," 20 Dec. 2019 Cortical folding appears to decrease with age across large swaths of the frontal, parietal and occipital lobes in both young people with autism and controls. Rachel Zamzow, Scientific American, "Brains of Children with Autism Show Unusual Folding Patterns," 9 July 2018 CT scan images of the skull roof (frontal bone in pink, parietal in green) a chicken, the birdlike dinosaur Zanabazar, the primitive dinosaur Herrerasaurus, and Proterosuchus. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "The Real Science of Bringing Back the Dinosaurs," 20 June 2018 When the study subjects who had pledged to spend money made generous picks, the fM.R.I. scans showed greater activity in a portion of the brain, the temporo-parietal junction, associated with altruism. Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, "Giving Proof," 14 Sep. 2017 Neuroimaging research suggests that dialogue in a story activates a part of the brain known as the right temporo-parietal junction, a key region for what’s called theory of mind, or the ability to attribute mental and emotional states to others. Malia Wollan, New York Times, "How to Read Aloud to Children," 16 June 2017 H2 blockers stop the action of histamine, which stimulates parietal cells to produce hydrochloric acid. Bradley J. Fikes,, "Popular stomach acid blockers linked to higher death rates," 3 July 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Synchronous brain activity was localized in the left hemisphere of the brain, to an area known as the temporal-parietal junction. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "Music Synchronizes the Brains of Performers and Their Audience," 2 June 2020 At 80 milliseconds, that activity suppression spread throughout the posterior parietal cortex. Richard Sima, Scientific American, "The Brain Senses Touch beyond the Body," 23 Dec. 2019 Glimcher and collaborators have shown that neurons in part of the brain called the parietal cortex do indeed behave this way, adding physiological support for the model. Quanta Magazine, "The Neuroscience Behind Bad Decisions," 23 Aug. 2016 This video shows a monitor lizard skull fossil fragment with both the parietal and pineal foramina visible (highlighted in yellow). Amina Khan,, "If two eyes are good, four were even better for this lizard species," 3 Apr. 2018 These have two conventional eyes and two parietals, one derived from the parapineal and the other from the pineal. The Economist, "Three-eyed lizards are not uncommon. Four-eyed ones are a novelty," 5 Apr. 2018 Another view of the monitor lizard skull fossil fragment, on which both the parietal and pineal foramina are visible (in yellow). Amina Khan,, "If two eyes are good, four were even better for this lizard species," 3 Apr. 2018 The other pathway makes use of networks located in the parietal and ventral regions that, among other things, are involved in autobiographical memory and the discovery of relevant visual stimuli. Nicola Ballhausen, Scientific American, "Foresee and Forget: How to Remember the Future," 7 Mar. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for parietal


Middle English, from Medieval Latin parietalis, from pariet-, paries wall of a cavity or hollow organ, from Latin, wall

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

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Cite this Entry

“Parietal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for parietal


pa·​ri·​etal | \ pə-ˈrī-ət-ᵊl How to pronounce parietal (audio) \

Medical Definition of parietal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to the walls of a part or cavity — compare visceral
2 : of, relating to, or located in the upper posterior part of the head specifically : relating to the parietal bones



Medical Definition of parietal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a parietal part (as a bone)

More from Merriam-Webster on parietal

Britannica English: Translation of parietal for Arabic Speakers

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