Dictionary.com

fetus

[ fee-tuhs ]
/ ˈfi təs /
Save This Word!

noun, plural fe·tus·es.Embryology.

(used chiefly of viviparous mammals) the young of an animal in the womb or egg, especially in the later stages of development when the body structures are in the recognizable form of its kind, in humans after the end of the second month of gestation.

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON “ITS” VS. “IT’S”!

Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 12
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.
Also especially British, foe·tus .
Compare embryo (def. 1).

Origin of fetus

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Latin fētus “bringing forth of young,” hence “that which is born, offspring, young still in the womb,” equivalent to fē- (verb base attested in Latin only in noun derivatives, as fēmina “woman,” fēcundus “fertile,” fīlius “son,” fīlia “daughter,” etc.; compare Greek thēsthai “to suck, milk,” Old High German tāan “to suck,” Old Irish denid “(he) sucks,” Slavic (Polish) doić “to milk” + -tus suffix of verb action; see fecund
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for fetus

fetus

foetus

/ (ˈfiːtəs) /

noun plural -tuses

the embryo of a mammal in the later stages of development, when it shows all the main recognizable features of the mature animal, esp a human embryo from the end of the second month of pregnancy until birthCompare embryo (def. 2)
C14: from Latin: offspring, brood
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

Medical definitions for fetus

fetus
[ fētəs ]

n. pl. fe•tus•es

The unborn young of a viviparous vertebrate having a basic structural resemblance to the adult animal.
In humans, the unborn young from the end of the eighth week after conception to the moment of birth.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for fetus

fetus
[ fētəs ]

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

Cultural definitions for fetus

fetus

The embryo of an animal that bears its young alive (rather than laying eggs). In humans, the embryo is called a fetus after all major body structures have formed; this stage is reached about sixty days after fertilization.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
What's This Word?