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pa·​ri·​e·​tal pə-ˈrī-ə-tᵊl How to pronounce parietal (audio)
: of or relating to the walls of a part or cavity
: of, relating to, or located near or within the parietal bone or parietal lobe of the head
: attached to the main wall rather than the axis or a cross wall of a plant ovary
used of an ovule or a placenta
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


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

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
The study published by the Lancet, found that 94% of patients diagnosed with Posterior Cortical Atrophy, or PCA, a neurodegenerative condition that impairs one's vision and mainly affects the occipital and parietal cortex, also had Alzheimer's. Julia Gomez, USA TODAY, 26 Jan. 2024 Electrodes were placed on the top and center of the volunteer’s head, near the medial parietal cortex—the part of the brain that completes visual scene processing. IEEE Spectrum, 16 Dec. 2023 The researchers didn’t study the prefrontal or parietal cortices, where the majority of number neurons are located in monkeys. Yasemin Saplakoglu, Quanta Magazine, 9 Nov. 2023 The parietal cortex, on the other hand, is responsible for controlling the body. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 19 Sep. 2023 Areas of the brain involved in processing visual motion (the right middle temporal cortical areas) and in understanding the thoughts and intentions of others (the right temporal parietal junction) were involved in processing the face’s gaze when staring at the tree. Robert Martone, Scientific American, 29 Dec. 2020 Four months in the hospital During that time, Gomez said Catherine had surgery to remove parts of her frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes on the left side of the brain. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 1 Aug. 2023 Only in some of these brain areas did neural activation peak prior to the spontaneous arising of a thought – most notably in the medial temporal lobe and inferior parietal lobule... Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 28 Apr. 2016 The parietal pleura is a membrane that folds back on itself to form a two-layered sac. Howard Cohen Miami Herald (tns), al, 26 July 2022
When the subjects lying in the scanner decided to bluff against a human component—but not against the computer—an area called the temporal-parietal junction (TPJ) suddenly blazed with activity. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 12 July 2012 Not all of the study's archeologists would agree that the findings fully qualify as parietal, which is often used to describe paintings on cave walls and meaning something cannot move from place to place. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 21 Sep. 2021 That privilege belongs to more posterior regions—the parietal, temporal and occipital lobes. Christof Koch, Scientific American, 10 May 2021 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, 2 June 2020 At 80 milliseconds, that activity suppression spread throughout the posterior parietal cortex. Richard Sima, Scientific American, 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, 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,, 3 Apr. 2018 These have two conventional eyes and two parietals, one derived from the parapineal and the other from the pineal. The Economist, 5 Apr. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'parietal.' 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 Medieval Latin parietalis, from pariet-, paries wall of a cavity or hollow organ, from Latin, wall

First Known Use


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near parietal

Cite this Entry

“Parietal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: of, relating to, or forming the upper back wall of the head

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
pa·​ri·​etal pə-ˈrī-ət-ᵊl How to pronounce parietal (audio)
: of or relating to the walls of a part or cavity compare visceral
: of, relating to, or located in the upper posterior part of the head
specifically : relating to the parietal bones


2 of 2 noun
: a parietal part (as a bone)

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