• synonyms


[per-uh-nee-uh m]
noun, plural per·i·ne·a [per-uh-nee-uh] /ˌpɛr əˈni ə/. Anatomy.
  1. the area in front of the anus extending to the fourchette of the vulva in the female and to the scrotum in the male.
  2. the diamond-shaped area corresponding to the outlet of the pelvis, containing the anus and vulva or the roots of the penis.
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Origin of perineum

1625–35; < New Latin < Greek períneon, períneos, perínaios, apparently equivalent to per(i)- peri- + ine-, ina-, stems of ineîn, inân to evacuate, empty + -(i)os, -(i)on noun suffix
Related formsper·i·ne·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for perineum

Historical Examples

  • If the perineum has not been previously shaved, this is now done.

    A Manual of the Operations of Surgery

    Joseph Bell

  • This we do to protect the perineum, in order to prevent laceration.

    Hints to Husbands

    George Morant

  • There is a passage, also, almost more interesting with regard to prophylaxis of rupture of the perineum.

  • This condition is indicated by frequent twitchings of the ejaculatory and compressor muscles in the perineum.

  • Interference with the rectal functions often follows tedious cases of labor where the child's head remains long in the perineum.

British Dictionary definitions for perineum


noun plural -nea (-ˈniːə)
  1. the region of the body between the anus and the genital organs, including some of the underlying structures
  2. the nearly diamond-shaped surface of the human trunk between the thighs
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Derived Formsperineal, adjective

Word Origin

C17: from New Latin, from Greek perinaion, from peri- + inein to empty out
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 perineum


"region of the body between the anus and the genital organs" (jocularly called a taint), early 15c., from Medieval Latin perinaeon, Late Latin perineum, from Greek perinaion, perinaios, from peri- "near" (see peri-) + inan "to carry off by evacuation," of unknown origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

perineum in Medicine


n. pl. per•i•ne•a (-nēə)
  1. The portion of the body in the pelvis occupied by urogenital passages and the rectum, bounded in front by the pubic arch, in the back by the coccyx, and laterally by part of the hipbone.
  2. The region between the scrotum and the anus in males, and between the posterior vulva junction and the anus in females.
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Related formsper′i•neal (-nēəl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

perineum in Science


Plural perinea
  1. The region between the scrotum and the anus in males, and between the posterior vulva and the anus in females.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.