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[dis-tl] /ˈdɪs tl/
situated away from the point of origin or attachment, as of a limb or bone; terminal.
Compare proximal.
Dentistry. directed away from the sagittal plane or midline of the face, along the dental arch.
Compare buccal (def 3), mesial (def 2).
Origin of distal
First recorded in 1800-10; dist(ant) + -al1
Related forms
distally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for distal


(anatomy) (of a muscle, bone, limb, etc) situated farthest from the centre, median line, or point of attachment or origin Compare proximal
Derived Forms
distally, adverb
Word Origin
C19: from distant + -al1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for distal

1808, formed from distant + -al (1) on model of central, dorsal, ventral, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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distal in Medicine

distal dis·tal (dĭs'təl)

  1. Anatomically located far from a point of reference, such as an origin or a point of attachment.

  2. Situated farthest from the middle and front of the jaw, as a tooth or tooth surface.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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