noun, plural pe·nis·es, pe·nes [pee-neez] /ˈpi niz/. Anatomy, Zoology.

the male organ of copulation and, in mammals, of urinary excretion.

Origin of penis

First recorded in 1685–95, penis is from the Latin word pēnis tail, penis
Related formspe·nile [peen-l, pee-nahyl] /ˈpin l, ˈpi naɪl/, pe·ni·al [pee-nee-uh l] /ˈpi ni əl/, adjective
Can be confusedpenal penile Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for penis

member, cock, dick, pecker, peter, prick, shaft, tool, manhood, wood

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British Dictionary definitions for penis


noun plural -nises or -nes (-niːz)

the male organ of copulation in higher vertebrates, also used for urine excretion in many mammals

Word Origin for penis

C17: from Latin
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 penis

1670s, perhaps from French pénis or directly from Latin penis "penis," earlier "tail," from PIE *pes-/*pesos- "penis" (cf. Sanskrit pasas-, Greek peos, posthe "penis," probably also Old English fæsl "progeny, offspring," Old Norse fösull, German Fasel "young of animals, brood"). The proper plural is penes. The adjective is penial. In psychological writing, penis envy is attested from 1924.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

penis in Medicine



n. pl. pe•nis•es

The male organ of copulation and of urinary excretion, formed by three columns of erectile tissue, two arranged laterally on the dorsum and one medianly below; the extremity is formed by an expansion of the corpus spongiosum, covered by a free fold of skin.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

penis in Science



Plural penises penes (nēz)

The male reproductive organ of mammals and some reptiles and birds. In mammals, the penis contains the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder and releases sperm during reproduction.
A similar organ found in the males of some invertebrate animals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

penis in Culture


The organ of the male reproductive system through which semen passes out of the body during sexual intercourse. The penis is also an organ of urination.

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.