[ dawr-suhl ]
See synonyms for: dorsaldorsals on

  1. of, relating to, or situated at the back, or dorsum.

  2. Anatomy, Zoology. : Compare ventral (def. 2).

    • situated on or toward the upper side of the body, equivalent to the back, or posterior, in humans.

    • situated on or toward the posterior plane in humans or toward the upper plane in quadrupeds.

  1. Botany. pertaining to the surface away from the axis, as of a leaf; abaxial.

  2. Phonetics. (of a speech sound) articulated with the dorsum of the tongue.

  1. Phonetics. a dorsal speech sound.

  2. Anatomy. a dorsal structure.

Origin of dorsal

1535–45; <Medieval Latin dorsālis, equivalent to Latin dors(um) back + -ālis-al1

Other words from dorsal

  • dor·sal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby dorsal

Other definitions for dorsal (2 of 2)

[ dawr-suhl ] Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dorsal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dorsal


/ (ˈdɔːsəl) /

  1. anatomy zoology relating to the back or spinal part of the body: Compare ventral (def. 1)

  2. botany of, relating to, or situated on the side of an organ that is directed away from the axis

  1. articulated with the back of the tongue, as the (k) sound in English coot

Origin of dorsal

C15: from Medieval Latin dorsālis, from Latin dorsum back

Derived forms of dorsal

  • dorsally, adverb

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

Scientific definitions for dorsal


[ dôrsəl ]

  1. Relating to or on the back or upper surface of an animal.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.