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See more synonyms for lung on Thesaurus.com
  1. either of the two saclike respiratory organs in the thorax of humans and the higher vertebrates.
  2. an analogous organ in certain invertebrates, as arachnids or terrestrial gastropods.
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  1. at the top of one's lungs, as loudly as possible; with full voice: The baby cried at the top of his lungs.
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Origin of lung

before 1000; Middle English lungen, Old English; cognate with German Lunge; akin to light2, lights
Related formslunged [luhngd] /lʌŋd/, adjectivehalf-lunged, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for lung

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He had ample girth of chest at the cinches, where lung capacity is best measured.

  • Start slicing every lung in this place and look for those crystals.

    Poisoned Air

    Sterner St. Paul Meek

  • There was a meeting, and Garfield was shot through the lung.

    The Snare

    Rafael Sabatini

  • The ribs had been cut across, and some portion of the heart or lung seemed to protrude.

    Jack Hinton

    Charles James Lever

  • The lung was not yet attacked, but the bronchial tubes were affected.

British Dictionary definitions for lung


  1. either one of a pair of spongy saclike respiratory organs within the thorax of higher vertebrates, which oxygenate the blood and remove its carbon dioxide
  2. any similar or analogous organ in other vertebrates or in invertebrates
  3. at the top of one's lungs in one's loudest voice; yelling
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Related formsRelated adjectives: pneumonic, pulmonary, pulmonic

Word Origin

Old English lungen; related to Old High German lungun lung. Compare lights ²
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 lung


"human respiratory organ," c.1300, from Old English lungen (plural), from Proto-Germanic *lungw- (cf. Old Norse lunge, Old Frisian lungen, Middle Dutch longhe, Dutch long, Old High German lungun, German lunge "lung"), literally "the light organ," from PIE *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight; easy, agile, nimble" (cf. Russian lëgkij, Polish lekki "light;" Russian lëgkoje "lung," Greek elaphros "light" in weight; see also lever).

The notion probably is from the fact that, when thrown into a pot of water, lungs of a slaughtered animal float, while the heart, liver, etc., do not. Cf. also Portuguese leve "lung," from Latin levis "light;" Irish scaman "lungs," from scaman "light;" Welsh ysgyfaint "lungs," from ysgafn "light." See also lights, pulmonary. Lung cancer attested from 1882.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lung in Medicine


  1. Either of the two saclike organs of respiration that occupy the pulmonary cavity of the thorax and in which aeration of the blood takes place. It is common for the right lung, which is divided into three lobes, to be slightly larger than the left, which has two lobes.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

lung in Science


  1. Either of two spongy organs in the chest of air-breathing vertebrate animals that serve as the organs of gas exchange. Blood flowing through the lungs picks up oxygen from inhaled air and releases carbon dioxide, which is exhaled. Air enters and leaves the lungs through the bronchial tubes.
  2. A similar organ found in some invertebrates.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with lung


see at the top of one's lungs.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.