• synonyms


[lak-tee-uh l]
  1. pertaining to, consisting of, or resembling milk; milky.
  2. Anatomy. conveying or containing chyle.
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  1. Anatomy. any of the minute lymphatic vessels that convey chyle from the small intestine to the thoracic duct.
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Origin of lacteal

1625–35; < Latin lacte(us) milky (see lacteous) + -al1
Related formslac·te·al·ly, adverbnon·lac·te·al, adjectivenon·lac·te·al·ly, adverbpre·lac·te·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lacteals

Historical Examples

  • Paralysis of the lacteals, of the liver, and of the veins, which are described in Sect.

    Zoonomia, Vol. II

    Erasmus Darwin

  • These lacteals have a special affinity for the fat of the food.

  • The lacteals discovered by Caspar Asselli, while dissecting a dog.

  • This fat then enters the lacteals, which unite to form the thoracic duct.

    Encyclopedia of Diet

    Eugene Christian

  • The lacteals carry the fats into the blood by way of the thoracic duct.

    A Civic Biology

    George William Hunter

British Dictionary definitions for lacteals


  1. of, relating to, or resembling milk
  2. (of lymphatic vessels) conveying or containing chyle
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  1. any of the lymphatic vessels conveying chyle from the small intestine to the thoracic duct
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Derived Formslacteally, adverb

Word Origin

C17: from Latin lacteus of milk, from lac milk
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 lacteals



1650s, formed in English from Latin lacteus, from lac (genitive lactis) "milk," from PIE root *glakt- (see lactation) + -al (1).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lacteals in Medicine


  1. Of, relating to, or resembling milk.
  2. Of or relating to a lacteal.
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  1. Any of numerous minute intestinal lymph-carrying vessels that convey chyle from the intestine to lymphatic circulation and thereby to the thoracic duct.chyle vessel
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.