• synonyms


[per-i-tn-ee-uh m]
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noun, plural per·i·to·ne·ums, per·i·to·ne·a [per-i-tn-ee-uh] /ˌpɛr ɪ tnˈi ə/. Anatomy.
  1. the serous membrane lining the abdominal cavity and investing its viscera.
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Origin of peritoneum

1535–45; < Late Latin, variant spelling of peritonaeum < Greek peritónaion, noun use of neuter of peritónaios, synonymous derivative of perítonos stretched round. See peri-, tone, -eous
Related formsper·i·to·ne·al, adjectiveper·i·to·ne·al·ly, adverbpre·per·i·to·ne·al, adjectivesub·per·i·to·ne·al, adjectivetrans·per·i·to·ne·al, adjectivetrans·per·i·to·ne·al·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

heart, breast, bust, bosom, peritoneum, ribs, thorax, viscera, abdominals

Examples from the Web for peritoneum

Historical Examples

  • It is of much more consequence to avoid injuring the peritoneum.

    A Manual of the Operations of Surgery

    Joseph Bell

  • It is not at all necessary in every case to open the sac of the peritoneum.

  • The peritoneum is the membrane which is stretched around the abdomen.


    Elmer W. Cavins

  • The peritoneum was rough, and coated with the same exudation.

  • There may be hemorrhages in the glandular tissue or under the peritoneum.

    Scurvy Past and Present

    Alfred Fabian Hess

British Dictionary definitions for peritoneum


noun plural -nea (-ˈniːə) or -neums
  1. a thin translucent serous sac that lines the walls of the abdominal cavity and covers most of the viscera
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Derived Formsperitoneal, adjective

Word Origin

C16: via Late Latin from Greek peritonaion, from peritonos stretched around, from peri- + tenein to stretch
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 peritoneum


early 15c., from Late Latin peritonaeum, from Greek peritonaion "abdominal membrane," literally "part stretched over," noun use of neuter of peritonaios "stretched over," from peri- "around" (see peri-) + teinein "to stretch" (see tenet). Related: Peritoneal.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

peritoneum in Medicine


n. pl. per•i•to•ne•a
  1. The serous sac consisting of mesothelium and a thin layer of irregular connective tissue that lines the abdominal cavity, covers most of the viscera contained therein, and itself forms two cavities, the peritoneal and the omental bursa, which are connected by the epiploic foramen.
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Related formsper′i•to•neal adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

peritoneum in Science


Plural peritonea
  1. The membrane that lines the walls of the abdomen and the pelvis (called the parietal peritoneum) and encloses the abdominal and pelvic organs (called the visceral peritoneum.) The space between the two, the peritoneal cavity, fills with inflammatory cells and pus when the peritoneum becomes infected.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.