ab·​do·​men ˈab-də-mən How to pronounce abdomen (audio)
ab- How to pronounce abdomen (audio)
plural abdomens
: the part of the body between the thorax and the pelvis
… well-defined reddish lesions that can appear anywhere on the body but most often on the thighs and abdomenSusan Logan-McCracken
also : the cavity of the abdomen that is lined by peritoneum, is bounded above by the diaphragm, anteriorly by a wall of muscle and tissue, and posteriorly by the spinal column, is continuous below with the pelvic cavity, and contains many of the visceral organs and especially those involved in digestion (such as the stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines) : abdominal cavity
Removal of the gallbladder—a pear-shaped sac in the right side of your abdomen—has little adverse effect on digestion. The Mayo Clinic Health Letter
: the posterior section of the body behind the thorax in an arthropod
On a nearby table was a … dish of ants that looked familiar except that they had been feeding on peach nectar and the abdomen of each was a large, swollen, translucent sac.The New Yorker
see insect illustration

Example Sentences

showed us a tiny tattoo on her abdomen, right next to her belly button
Recent Examples on the Web Two people were in critical condition — one of whom had been shot in the abdomen, and the other who had been shot in the face and jaw area, Taylor said. Phil Helsel, NBC News, 31 Jan. 2023 Deputies found Justin Hellyer shot twice in the abdomen and arrested Adams, who was off duty at the time, as the suspect in the shooting. Ron Wood, Arkansas Online, 31 Jan. 2023 The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said Tortuguita was killed by officers after shooting and seriously wounding a state trooper in the abdomen. R.j. Rico And Jeff Amy, USA TODAY, 27 Jan. 2023 The Georgia State Patrol trooper, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was shot in the abdomen. Fox News, 22 Jan. 2023 And, unfortunately, that individual was killed and the patrol officer, the state patrol officer, was shot in the abdomen. CBS News, 22 Jan. 2023 The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Tortuguita was killed after shooting a state trooper in the abdomen, causing nonfatal injuries, but others have called for an independent investigation into the killing, according to the Associated Press. Kelly Kasulis Cho, Washington Post, 22 Jan. 2023 Monica Law said the young girl was shot in the abdomen. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 22 Jan. 2023 Officers at the scene stepped in to diffuse the situation and discovered that Marco had been stabbed in the abdomen. Charmaine Patterson, Peoplemag, 13 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin abdōmen "fat underpart of an animal, belly, paunch," of uncertain origin

Note: Often seen as a derivative of abdere, "to hide, conceal," i.e., "that which is hidden," based on a nominal ablaut form *dhoh1- from the root *dheh1- "put." However, Latin abdōmen refers primarily to a body part of animals, and more or less humorously of humans; such usage suggests something prominent rather than something concealed, so the derivation looks somewhat unlikely.

First Known Use

circa 1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of abdomen was circa 1541

Dictionary Entries Near abdomen

Cite this Entry

“Abdomen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abdomen. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


ab·​do·​men ˈab-də-mən How to pronounce abdomen (audio)
: the part of the body between the chest and the hips
: the body cavity containing the chief digestive organs

called also abdominal cavity

: the hind portion of the body behind the thorax in an arthropod see insect illustration
abdominal adjective
abdominally adverb

Medical Definition


: the part of the body between the thorax and the pelvis with the exception of the back

called also belly

: the cavity of this part of the trunk lined by the peritoneum, enclosed by the body walls, the diaphragm, and the pelvic floor, and containing the visceral organs (as the stomach, intestines, and liver)
: the portion of this cavity between the diaphragm and the brim of the pelvis compare pelvic cavity
: the posterior often elongated region of the body behind the thorax in arthropods

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