uter·​us ˈyü-tə-rəs How to pronounce uterus (audio)
plural uteri ˈyü-tə-ˌrī How to pronounce uterus (audio) or uteruses
: a muscular organ of the female mammal for containing and usually for nourishing the young during development prior to birth

called also womb

: a structure in some lower animals analogous to the uterus in which eggs or young develop

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Mifepristone blocks progesterone, a key hormone needed to sustain a pregnancy, and misoprostol induces cramping and bleeding that expels the contents of the uterus. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, 21 Apr. 2023 Depo-Provera Overview Barrier Birth Control Methods A barrier birth control method is a device that physically blocks sperm from entering the opening of the uterus. Dawn Stacey, Phd, Lmhc, Verywell Health, 1 Apr. 2023 Endometriosis is a reproductive condition in which uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, causing cramping and chronic pain. Angela Andaloro, Peoplemag, 22 Mar. 2023 When taken in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, mifepristone blocks a hormone that allows the pregnancy to develop, and misoprostol, taken 24 to 48 hours later, empties the uterus. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Mar. 2023 The procedure performed at the end of the first trimester will terminate one of multiple pregnancies in the uterus. Fiorella Valdesolo, Vogue, 27 Jan. 2023 And quick, effective treatment is pretty crucial: Untreated gonorrhea can potentially lead to serious complications for some people, including pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries that can raise a person’s risk of infertility, according to Dr. Russo. Korin Miller, SELF, 24 Jan. 2023 The Ohio state legislature considered a bill in 2019, for example, that mandated an ectopic pregnancy be treated by reimplanting the embryo into the uterus, despite such a procedure being medically impossible. Wired, 11 Aug. 2022 The second one, taken 24 to 48 hours later, induces contractions of the uterus that expel its contents. Adam Liptak, New York Times, 14 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'uterus.' 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 Latin, belly, womb; probably akin to Greek hoderos belly, Sanskrit udara

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of uterus was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near uterus

Cite this Entry

“Uterus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uterus. Accessed 28 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


uter·​us ˈyüt-ə-rəs How to pronounce uterus (audio)
plural uteruses or uteri -ˌrī How to pronounce uterus (audio)
: the muscular organ of a female mammal in which the young develop before birth

called also womb

Medical Definition


uter·​us ˈyüt-ə-rəs How to pronounce uterus (audio)
plural uteri -ˌrī How to pronounce uterus (audio) also uteruses
: an organ in female mammals for containing and usually for nourishing the young during development prior to birth that consists of a greatly modified and enlarged section of an oviduct (as in rodents and marsupials) or of the two oviducts united (as in the higher primates including humans), that has thick walls consisting of an outer serous layer, a very thick middle layer of smooth muscle, and an inner mucous layer containing numerous glands, and that during pregnancy undergoes great increase in size and change in the condition of its walls

called also womb

see cervix sense 2a, corpus uteri, endometrium, fundus sense c, myometrium, perimetrium

More from Merriam-Webster on uterus

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