vagina

noun
va·​gi·​na | \ və-ˈjī-nə How to pronounce vagina (audio) \
plural vaginas also vaginae\ və-​ˈjī-​(ˌ)nē How to pronounce vaginae (audio) \

Definition of vagina

1 : a canal in a female mammal that leads from the uterus to the external orifice of the genital canal
2 : a canal that is similar in function or location to the vagina and occurs in various animals other than mammals

First Known Use of vagina

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vagina

borrowed from New Latin, going back to Latin vāgīna "scabbard, sheath," of uncertain origin

Note: Latin vāgīna as an anatomical term does not appear to be earlier than the sixteenth century, though Roman use of the word as a sexual metaphor is as old as Plautus's comedy Pseudolus ("…quom tu ibas simul, conveniebatne in vaginam tuum machaera militis?" - "…when you were going with him, did the soldier's sword fit in your scabbard?"). Latin vāgīna has been compared with Lithuanian vóžti "to close with a lid or cover, shut" (from Indo-European *u̯eh2ǵ-?), though a link is doubtful given the vague sense connection and lack of other comparanda. According to Ernout and Meillet (Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine: histoire des mots, fourth edition, 1959), "undoubtedly a borrowed technical term" ("terme technique sans doute emprunté").

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The first known use of vagina was in 1612

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Last Updated

3 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vagina.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vagina. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for vagina

vagina

noun
How to pronounce vagina (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vagina

: the passage in a woman's or female animal's body that leads from the uterus to the outside of the body

vagina

noun
va·​gi·​na | \ və-ˈjī-nə How to pronounce vagina (audio) \

Kids Definition of vagina

: a canal that leads from the uterus to the outside of the body

vagina

noun
va·​gi·​na | \ və-ˈjī-nə How to pronounce vagina (audio) \
plural vaginae\ -​(ˌ)nē How to pronounce vaginae (audio) \ or vaginas

Medical Definition of vagina

: a canal in a female mammal that leads from the uterus to the external orifice opening into the vestibule between the labia minora

More from Merriam-Webster on vagina

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about vagina

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