[pi-too-i-ter-ee, -tyoo-]
noun, plural pi·tu·i·tar·ies.
  1. pituitary gland.
  2. Pharmacology. the extract obtained from the lobes of the pituitary glands of hogs, sheep, and other domestic animals: the posterior lobe constituent increases blood pressure, contracts stomach muscles, etc., and the anterior lobe constituent regulates growth of the skeleton.
  1. of, relating to, or involving the pituitary gland.
  2. noting a physical type of abnormal size with overgrown extremities resulting from excessive pituitary secretion.

Origin of pituitary

First recorded in 1605–15, pituitary is from the Latin word pītuītārius pertaining to or secreting phlegm. See pip2, -ary
Related formspost·pi·tu·i·tar·y, adjectivepre·pi·tu·i·tar·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for pituitary


noun plural -taries
  1. See pituitary gland, pituitary extract
  1. of or relating to the pituitary gland
  2. archaic of or relating to phlegm or mucus

Word Origin for pituitary

C17: from Late Latin pītuītārius slimy, from pītuīta phlegm
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 pituitary

1610s, from Latin pituitarius "mucous," from pituita "clammy moisture, phlegm, mucus, slime," possibly from PIE root *peie- "to be fat, swell" (see pine (n.)). Taken as the name for the gland because it was believed that it channeled mucus to the nose. As a noun by 1899.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pituitary in Medicine


  1. The pituitary gland.
  2. An extract from the anterior or posterior lobes of the pituitary gland, prepared for therapeutic use.
  1. Of or relating to the pituitary gland.
  2. Of or secreting phlegm or mucus; mucous.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.