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pos·​te·​ri·​or pō-ˈstir-ē-ər How to pronounce posterior (audio)
: later in time : subsequent
: situated behind: such as
: caudal
of the human body or its parts : dorsal
of a plant part : adaxial, superior
posteriorly adverb


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pos·​te·​ri·​or pä-ˈstir-ē-ər How to pronounce posterior (audio)
: the hinder parts of the body
specifically : buttocks

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Did you know?

Posterior comes from the Latin word posterus, meaning "coming after". Posterior is often used as a technical term in biology and medicine to refer to the back side of things, and is the opposite of anterior, which refers to the front side. For example, as more people took up running as a sport, doctors began to see an increase in stress fractures along the posterior as well as the anterior surface of the lower leg bones. In some technical fields, posterior may mean "later". When used as a noun, posterior simply means "buttocks".

Example Sentences

Adjective the posterior part of the brain the chapel's posterior location in the church serves to make it a quiet retreat Noun The man squeezed his large posterior into the chair. the baseball players were always slapping one another on the posterior
Recent Examples on the Web
In May 2021, outfielder Corbin Carroll suffered tears in the labrum and posterior capsule of his right shoulder. Nick Piecoro, USA TODAY, 27 July 2022 In May 2021, outfielder Corbin Carroll suffered tears in the labrum and posterior capsule of his right shoulder. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 26 July 2022 Pause for three seconds, then come up and repeat five to eight times to decrease tension from your glute towards your hamstring through the back side of the posterior chain. Perri O. Blumberg, Men's Health, 14 July 2022 During drowning, water is aspirated into the posterior oropharynx (throat) and down to the larynx (vocal cords). Dr. Michael Daignault, USA TODAY, 14 July 2022 The tibialis posterior attaches to your rigid shin (tibia) on one side, but on the other side there is not just one bone, but 26 individual bones that make up your foot. Jay Dicharry, Outside Online, 13 Mar. 2019 The deadlift remains the king of all back exercises, as the movement incorporates lat and core stabilization along with engaging your entire posterior chain. Jeff Tomko, Men's Health, 30 June 2022 Your calf muscles help make up your posterior chain, the group of muscles that run along the back of your body, including those along your spine, your hamstrings, and your glutes. Melissa Matthews, SELF, 23 June 2022 Another all-star starter, Freddy Peralta, has begun throwing again after suffering a right posterior shoulder strain on May 22. Curt Hogg, Journal Sentinel, 15 June 2022
Brown shook Grayson Allen so thoroughly on an 18-foot jumper in the first quarter that Allen staggered and his posterior ended up on the parquet. Globe Staff,, 4 May 2022 If that set of bones is well controlled, the tibialis posterior can work eccentrically to smoothly lower your foot to the ground. Jay Dicharry, Outside Online, 13 Mar. 2019 The deltoid muscles consist of three parts: the anterior (front) deltoid, lateral (medial) deltoid, and posterior (back) deltoid. Tyler Hatfield, Men's Health, 26 Apr. 2022 The whitish larvae are C-shaped with a bulbous posterior. Rita Perwich, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Apr. 2022 This compromises the tibialis posterior and its tendon. Jay Dicharry, Outside Online, 13 Mar. 2019 Philip English imagines a stuffy British bureaucrat parking his posterior on that seat and arguing that humans could never have descended from apes. Mary Carole Mccauley,, 13 Mar. 2022 Somewhere along the way, many of us have lost touch with our intuitive gait and developed inefficient patterns, letting the front of our bodies do the work instead of our powerhouse posterior chain. Esther Smith, Outside Online, 9 Jan. 2022 Madonna's posterior has apparently been a point of controversy in recent years. Sabrina Park, Harper's BAZAAR, 13 Sep. 2021 See More

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

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Word History



Latin, comparative of posterus coming after, from post after — more at post-

First Known Use


1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1605, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of posterior was in 1534

Dictionary Entries Near posterior

Cite this Entry

“Posterior.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
pos·​te·​ri·​or pō-ˈstir-ē-ər, pä- How to pronounce posterior (audio)
: situated behind: as
: situated at or toward the hind part of the body : caudal
: dorsal
used of human anatomy in which the upright posture makes dorsal and caudal identical


2 of 2 noun
pos·​te·​ri·​or pä-ˈstir-ē-ər, pō- How to pronounce posterior (audio)
: a posterior thing or part: as
: the rear end of a quadruped

More from Merriam-Webster on posterior

Last Updated: 8 Aug 2022

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