• synonyms


[ per-uh-stawl-sis, -stal- ]
/ ˌpɛr əˈstɔl sɪs, -ˈstæl- /

noun, plural per·i·stal·ses [per-uh-stawl-seez, -stal-] /ˌpɛr əˈstɔl siz, -ˈstæl-/. Physiology.

the progressive wave of contraction and relaxation of a tubular muscular system, especially the alimentary canal, by which the contents are forced through the system.

Nearby words

perispomenon, perispondylitis, perispore, perissodactyl, peristalith, peristalsis, peristaltic, peristerite, peristole, peristome, peristyle

Origin of peristalsis

1855–60; < New Latin < Greek peri- peri- + stálsis contraction, equivalent to stal- (variant stem of stéllein to set, bring together, compress) + -sis -sis
Related formshy·per·per·i·stal·sis, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for peristalsis

British Dictionary definitions for peristalsis


/ (ˌpɛrɪˈstælsɪs) /

noun plural -ses (-siːz)

physiol the succession of waves of involuntary muscular contraction of various bodily tubes, esp of the alimentary tract, where it effects transport of food and waste products
Derived Formsperistaltic, adjectiveperistaltically, adverb

Word Origin for peristalsis

C19: from New Latin, from peri- + Greek stalsis compression, from stellein to press together
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 peristalsis



1859, Modern Latin peristalsis; see peristaltic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for peristalsis


[ pĕr′ĭ-stôlsĭs, -stăl- ]

n. pl. per•i•stal•ses (-sēz)

The wavelike muscular contractions of the intestine or other tubular structure that propel the contents onward by alternate contraction and relaxation.vermicular movement
Related formsper′i•staltic (-stôltĭk, -stăl-) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for peristalsis


[ pĕr′ĭ-stôlsĭs ]

The wavelike muscular contractions in tubular structures, especially organs of the digestive system such as the esophagus and the intestines. Peristalsis is characterized by alternate contraction and relaxation, which pushes ingested food through the digestive tract towards its release at the anus. Worms propel themselves through peristaltic movement.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for peristalsis


[ (per-uh-stawl-sis, per-uh-stal-sis) ]

The wavelike, involuntary muscular contractions that move food through the digestive system.

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.