sur·​gi·​cal | \ˈsər-ji-kəl \

Definition of surgical 

1a : of or relating to surgeons or surgery surgical skills

b : used in or in connection with surgery surgical gauze

c : following or resulting from surgery surgical fevers

2 : characteristic of or resembling surgery or a surgeon especially in control or incisiveness surgical precision

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from surgical

surgically \ˈsər-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of surgical in a Sentence

The work was done with surgical precision.

Recent Examples on the Web

Their research on the post-surgical brain function of epileptic patients led her to reject the then-fashionable theories that memory was a product of Freudian urges or behaviorist stimulus-response chains. Susan Pinker, WSJ, "An Unforgettable Memory Expert Muses at 100," 23 Aug. 2018 While almost all patients used to be given one or the other to stave off the common and unwanted post-surgical side effects, doctors and nurses now evaluate the likelihood of a patient needing the drug, just like Berkeley paramedics do with saline. Brian Krans, Fox News, "Drug shortages in ER are more common than you think," 22 July 2018 Zeiger, then 26, was a nurse in a small surgical unit there. Jim Rendon, Marie Claire, "When Female Veterans Return Home," 29 Oct. 2018 The finding suggests that many appendicitis patients could be spared the risks of surgical procedures, such as infections. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "After century of removing appendixes, docs find antibiotics can be enough," 26 Sep. 2018 The maker of surgical and tissue-graft products had dazzled investors with five straight years of over 50% sales growth, boosting its market value to near $2 billion. Charley Grant, WSJ, "Highflying Medical Firm, a Help to Wounded Veterans, Falls to Earth," 23 July 2018 Krebs is a firm supporter of using opioids for acute surgical pain or for easing the agony of dying, but there has never been good evidence for deploying them against chronic pain. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "Why We Won’t Miss Opioids," 1 June 2018 Luna, who was wearing a ski mask, sunglasses, and surgical gloves, grabbed the victim from behind, put her into a chokehold, and tied her hands with shoelaces under the I-55 viaduct, according to the release. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "Man pleads guilty to sex assault," 16 May 2018 Many of the new measures are designed, with almost surgical precision, to harm his supporters. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: GOP candidates caught in a bind on Medicaid," 13 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of surgical

1707, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for surgical

surgeon + -ical

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about surgical

Statistics for surgical

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for surgical

The first known use of surgical was in 1707

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for surgical



English Language Learners Definition of surgical

: of or relating to the process of performing a medical operation : of or relating to surgery

: used during surgery

: resulting from a surgery


sur·​gi·​cal | \ˈsər-ji-kəl \

Kids Definition of surgical

: of, relating to, or associated with surgery or surgeons surgical instruments


sur·​gi·​cal | \ˈsər-ji-kəl \

Medical Definition of surgical 

1 : of, relating to, or concerned with surgeons or surgery surgical skill

2 : requiring surgical treatment a surgical appendix

3 : used in or in connection with surgery surgical gauze

4 : following or resulting from surgery surgical fevers

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on surgical

Spanish Central: Translation of surgical

Nglish: Translation of surgical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of surgical for Arabic Speakers

Comments on surgical

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


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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