pos·​te·​ri·​or | \ pō-ˈstir-ē-ər How to pronounce posterior (audio) , pä-\

Definition of posterior

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : later in time : subsequent
2 : situated behind: such as
a : caudal
b of the human body or its parts : dorsal
3 of a plant part : adaxial, superior


pos·​te·​ri·​or | \ pä-ˈstir-ē-ər How to pronounce posterior (audio) , pō-\

Definition of posterior (Entry 2 of 2)

: the hinder parts of the body specifically : buttocks

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Other Words from posterior


posteriorly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for posterior

Synonyms: Adjective

aft, after, back, hind, hinder, hindmost, rear, rearward

Synonyms: Noun

backside, behind, booty (also bootie) [slang], bottom, breech, bum, buns, butt, buttocks, caboose, can, cheeks, derriere (or derrière), duff, fanny, fundament, hams, haunches, heinie [slang], hunkers, keister (also keester) [slang], nates, rear, rear end, rump, seat, tail, tail end, tush [slang]

Antonyms: Adjective

anterior, fore, forward, front, frontal

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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".

Examples of posterior in a Sentence


the posterior part of the brain the chapel's posterior location in the church serves to make it a quiet retreat


The man squeezed his large posterior into the chair. the baseball players were always slapping one another on the posterior
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The technology uses transcranial alternating current electrical stimulation (tACS) to enhance the connection between frontal parts of the cortex (crucial for working memory) and more posterior brain regions. Vivienne Ming, Quartz, "Why I’m turning my son into a cyborg," 15 July 2019 The default network consists of a group of interconnected brain regions, including the medial prefrontal cortex, the posterior cingulate cortex, the angular gyrus and the hippocampus. Knvul Sheikh, Scientific American, "Creative Types Reserve a Special Corner of the Brain for Dreaming Big," 22 May 2019 Then, Orajel, the child teething product, is applied to the bullfrog’s posterior skin, which quickly lulls the frog to sleep and eventually into a peaceful death. Sam Lounsberry, The Denver Post, "Boulder County agencies fighting invasive American bullfrogs," 3 July 2019 In general, rowing is an excellent form or cardio and lower-body strengthening that targets the major posterior muscles, which often get neglected, says Hogue. Isadora Baum, SELF, "10 Things to Know Before Taking Your First Indoor Rowing Class," 27 Jan. 2019 Another is the posterior cingulate cortex, which Vago says is thought to play a critical role in self-reflection and rumination. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Meditation Can—and Can’t—Do for Your Health," 11 Sep. 2018 Traumatic shoulder dislocations are broadly classified into anterior ones and posterior ones., "Injury Analysis: Everything You Need to Know About Salah’s Suspected Shoulder Injury in 1 Minute," 27 May 2018 The importance of the dorsal posterior insula had previously been highlighted in a somewhat horrifying experiment conducted by Laure Mazzola, a neurologist at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, in France. Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker, "The Neuroscience of Pain," 9 May 2016 But when a baby suckles a mom’s breasts, the mother’s brain’s posterior lobe secretes oxytocin, and some of that pain is relieved with the release of milk. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Separating breastfeeding children from mothers is exceptionally cruel," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The galley shows a variety of wild animals (including the posterior of a mountain goat) that are presumably native to the Mount Rushmore State. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Come Take a Tour of America's Newest Nuclear Submarine," 7 Jan. 2019 The two apparently saw a lot more of each other while making Legacy—in fact, Elliott's bare posterior in the film was lauded in The Bare Facts, a guide to nudity in film, according to his International Movie Database profile. Samantha Drake, Country Living, "Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross Are One of Hollywood's Most Enduring Couples," 4 Oct. 2018 The two apparently saw a lot more of each other while making Legacy—in fact, Elliott's bare posterior in the film was lauded in The Bare Facts, a guide to nudity in film, according to his International Movie Database profile. Samantha Drake, Country Living, "Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross Are One of Hollywood's Most Enduring Couples," 4 Oct. 2018 Women wearing low cut shirts or shorts that barely covered their posteriors. Micaela English, Town & Country, "19 Things You Should Never Wear While Traveling," 1 Oct. 2018 The posterior featured a skin of LED lights that would illuminate in the club’s blue and orange colors, taking inspiration from Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena in the German Bundesliga., "FC Cincinnati announces timeline for West End stadium, to unveil new design," 29 June 2018 Seen: Video of motocross star Eli Tomac (the son of Mountain Bike Hall of Famer John) stuffing the front wheel of his machine so hard that the twisting action of the handlebars dislocated one shoulder to the anterior and the second to the posterior. Marc Peruzzi, Outside Online, "19 Lessons I Learned from Extreme Sports Pros," 25 June 2018 Among the many exhibits is Queen Parr’s privy, which has a velvet canopy and a seat of crimson velvet for the royal posterior (adults £16.50; 20 percent discount with National Trust membership). New York Times, "36 Hours in the Cotswolds," 17 May 2018 The company has everything from cheaper units which just supply warm water to the posterior, to expensive units with heated seats, warm air driers, adjustable nozzles, and remote controls. Brent Rose, WIRED, "Lost the Use of Your Dominant Hand? This Tech Can Help," 30 Mar. 2018

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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First Known Use of posterior


1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1605, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for posterior


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

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Statistics for posterior

Last Updated

31 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for posterior

The first known use of posterior was in 1534

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More Definitions for posterior



English Language Learners Definition of posterior

 (Entry 1 of 2)

technical : near or toward the back of something (such as the body)



English Language Learners Definition of posterior (Entry 2 of 2)

humorous : the part of the body above the legs that is used for sitting


pos·​te·​ri·​or | \ pō-ˈstir-ē-ər, pä- How to pronounce posterior (audio) \

Medical Definition of posterior

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: situated behind: as
a : situated at or toward the hind part of the body : caudal
b : dorsal used of human anatomy in which the upright posture makes dorsal and caudal identical


pos·​te·​ri·​or | \ pä-ˈstir-ē-ər, pō- How to pronounce posterior (audio) \

Medical Definition of posterior (Entry 2 of 2)

: a posterior thing or part: as
a : the rear end of a quadruped
b : buttocks

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Comments on posterior

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


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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