• synonyms


[kon-stuh-pey-shuh n]
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  1. a condition of the bowels in which the feces are dry and hardened and evacuation is difficult and infrequent.
  2. Informal. a state of slowing down, sluggishness, or inactivity.
  3. Obsolete. the act of crowding anything into a smaller compass; condensation.
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Origin of constipation

1375–1425; late Middle English constipacioun (< Middle French) < Late Latin constīpātiōn- (stem of constīpātiō). See constipate, -ion
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for constipation


  1. infrequent or difficult evacuation of the bowels, with hard faeces, caused by functional or organic disorders or improper diet
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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

Word Origin and History for constipation


c.1400, "constriction of tissue," from Late Latin constipationem (nominative constipatio), noun of state from Latin constipare "to press or crowd together," from com- "together" (see com-) + stipare "to cram, pack" (see stiff (adj.)). Specifically of the bowel condition since 1540s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

constipation in Medicine


  1. Difficult, incomplete, or infrequent evacuation of dry, hardened feces from the bowels.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.