• synonyms


  1. situated away from the point of origin or attachment, as of a limb or bone; terminal.Compare proximal.
  2. Dentistry. directed away from the sagittal plane or midline of the face, along the dental arch.Compare buccal(def 3), mesial(def 2).
Show More

Origin of distal

First recorded in 1800–10; dist(ant) + -al1
Related formsdis·tal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for distal

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for distal


  1. anatomy (of a muscle, bone, limb, etc) situated farthest from the centre, median line, or point of attachment or originCompare proximal
Show More
Derived Formsdistally, adverb

Word Origin

C19: from distant + -al 1
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 distal


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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

distal in Medicine


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