See more synonyms for fetal on Thesaurus.com
Also especially British, foe·tal.

Origin of fetal

First recorded in 1805–15; fet(us) + -al1
Related formspost·fe·tal, adjectivepost·foe·tal, adjective
Can be confusedfatal fateful fetal (see synonym study at fatal)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for fetal



  1. of, relating to, or resembling a fetus
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 fetal

1811, from fetus + -al (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fetal in Medicine


  1. Of, relating to, or being a fetus.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

fetal in Science


  1. The unborn offspring of a mammal at the later stages of its development, especially a human from eight weeks after fertilization to its birth. In a fetus, all major body organs are present.
Related formsfetal adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.