\ˈvān \

Definition of vein 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : blood vessel especially : any of the tubular branching vessels that carry blood from the capillaries toward the heart

2a : any of the vascular bundles forming the framework of a leaf

b : any of the thickened cuticular ribs that serve to stiffen the wings of an insect

3a : a narrow water channel in rock or earth or in ice

b(1) : lode sense 2

(2) : a bed of useful mineral matter

c : lode sense 3

4 : something suggesting veins (as in reticulation) specifically : a wavy variegation (as in marble)

5a : a distinctive mode of expression : style stories in a romantic vein

b : a distinctive element or quality : strain introduced a welcome vein of humor

c : a line of thought or action

6a : a special aptitude inherited an artistic vein

b : a usually transitory and casually attained mood

c : top form thou troublest me; I am not in the vein— William Shakespeare


veined; veining; veins

Definition of vein (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to pattern with or as if with veins

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Other Words from vein


veinal \ˈvā-nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of vein in a Sentence


the author goes on in that sarcastic vein for pages

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Otherwise, the news this week tapped a rich vein of anxiety over digital avatars, online privacy, and having your baby on the internet. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Cybermom on the run: this week in tech, 20 years ago," 16 June 2018 The undiagnosed condition is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins, which disrupts normal blood flow. Scott Springer,, "Ladonnis Griffin's biggest play ever at Lakota West was a GoFundMe page," 12 July 2018 Lawyers argued his deteriorating health left his veins unsuitable for IVs to be inserted. Time, "Houston's 'Ice Pick Killer' Executed in Texas for 1979 Rape and Murder," 29 June 2018 The body regulates blood pressure through proteins that cause veins and arteries to expand or contract. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "A Rattle with Death in Yosemite," 20 June 2018 A National Institute of Health study of civilian tourniquet application found a six-fold reduction in death for injuries to arteries and veins in limbs. Kathy Boccella,, "Nothing has stopped the wave of school shootings. Now districts are buying war-zone trauma kits," 11 June 2018 To save her life, surgeons had to block off the veins and arteries going to her liver. Wayne Drash, CNN, "Her only chance at life is a new liver, but her insurer said no. Then she wrote a powerful plea to the CEO," 13 May 2018 To ensure blood flow and sensation, surgeons also connected three arteries, four veins and two nerves during the operation. Andrea K. Mcdaniels,, "Johns Hopkins performs world's first 'total' penis transplant," 23 Apr. 2018 The interstitial spaces were originally thought to be dense, connective tissue found surrounding arteries and veins and sitting right below the surface of the skin. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Study says we have an undiscovered organ. It's called the interstitium," 28 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Maddox said the plaster will once again be painted with veining that mimics stone, but in a lighter shade than the dark brown favored in the Victorian era. Washington Post, "NYC’s historic Trinity Church to partially close for 2 years," 6 May 2018 On a spring morning last year, in the Keith Creek neighborhood of Rockford, Illinois, Eric Thurmond stopped his patrol car on a street shrouded by trees and veined with cracks. Ben Austen, The New Republic, "How one American city chose to tackle crime, combat racism, and reckon with the legacy of police brutality," 21 June 2018 The store's fishmongers can assist with anything from recipe suggestions to shrimp de-veining. Katherine Peralta, charlotteobserver, "Here's a sneak peek inside Whole Foods, uptown Charlotte's new grocery store," 11 June 2018 Like the canyons that vein so much of San Diego County, coyotes are a reminder of this land’s natural state. Peter Rowe,, "Back story: Living with your not-so-friendly neighborhood coyotes," 29 Apr. 2018 The crop of acorns from the live oaks that grew on the narrow cheniers veining the coastal marsh and the water oaks and southern red oaks upland farther inland were gone. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Late winter gives Texas hunters best shot at feral hogs," 24 Jan. 2018 The Driftless region includes southwestern Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, veined by the Mississippi, Wisconsin, Kickapoo and other rivers. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'The Driftless Reader' portrays beauty and challenges of a remarkable region," 5 Oct. 2017 K Street is majestic and immovable, veined through Washington like fat through a prime steak. Nicholas Confessore, New York Times, "How to Get Rich in Trump’s Washington," 30 Aug. 2017 Meanwhile, more expensive cars — like the Camaro’s sibling, the Corvette — are veined with carbon fiber. David Ingold, The Seattle Times, "Innovations make America’s cars faster yet more efficient," 21 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vein.' 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 vein


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


1502, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vein


Middle English veyne, borrowed from Anglo-French veine, going back to Latin vēna "blood vessel, channel," of obscure origin


verbal derivative of vein entry 1

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Phrases Related to vein

ice water in one's veins

varicose vein

Statistics for vein

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vein

The first known use of vein was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for vein



English Language Learners Definition of vein

: any one of the tubes that carry blood from parts of the body back to the heart

: any one of the thin lines that can be seen on the surface of a leaf or on the wing of an insect

: a long, narrow opening in rock filled with gold, silver, etc.


\ˈvān \

Kids Definition of vein

1 : one of the blood vessels that carry the blood back to the heart

2 : a long narrow opening in rock filled with a specific mineral a vein of gold

3 : a streak of different color or texture (as in marble)

4 : a style of expression I continued in a more serious vein.— Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted

5 : one of the bundles of fine tubes that make up the framework of a leaf and carry food, water, and nutrients in the plant

6 : one of the slender parts that stiffen and support the wing of an insect

Other Words from vein

veined \ˈvānd \ adjective


\ˈvān \

Medical Definition of vein 

: any of the tubular branching vessels that carry blood from the capillaries toward the heart and have thinner walls than the arteries and often valves at intervals to prevent reflux of the blood which flows in a steady stream and is in most cases dark-colored due to the presence of reduced hemoglobin

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Comments on vein

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


one that holds something together

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