[ hahy-ey-tuhs ]
/ haɪˈeɪ təs /

noun, plural hi·a·tus·es, hi·a·tus.

a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.
a missing part; gap or lacuna: Scholars attempted to account for the hiatus in the medieval manuscript.
any gap or opening.
Grammar, Prosody. the coming together, with or without break or slight pause, and without contraction, of two vowels in successive words or syllables, as in see easily.
Anatomy. a natural fissure, cleft, or foramen in a bone or other structure.

Nearby words

  1. hi-res,
  2. hi-tech,
  3. hialeah,
  4. hiatal,
  5. hiatal hernia,
  6. hiatus esophageus,
  7. hiatus hernia,
  8. hiatus saphenus,
  9. hiatus semilunaris,
  10. hiawatha

Origin of hiatus

1555–65; < Latin hiātus opening, gap, equivalent to hiā(re) to gape, open + -tus suffix of v. action

Related formshi·a·tal, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for hiatal


/ (haɪˈeɪtəs) /

noun plural -tuses or -tus

(esp in manuscripts) a break or gap where something is missing
a break or interruption in continuity
a break between adjacent vowels in the pronunciation of a word
anatomy a natural opening or aperture; foramen
anatomy a less common word for vulva
Derived Formshiatal, adjective

Word Origin for hiatus

C16: from Latin: gap, cleft, aperture, from hiāre to gape, yawn

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 hiatal
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for hiatal


[ hī-ātəs ]

n. pl. hiatus

An aperture or fissure in an organ or a body part.
A foramen.
Related formshi•atal adj.

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