[ pluh-sen-tuh ]
See synonyms for placenta on
noun,plural pla·cen·tas, pla·cen·tae [pluh-sen-tee]. /pləˈsɛn ti/.
  1. Anatomy, Zoology. the organ in most mammals, formed in the lining of the uterus by the union of the uterine mucous membrane with the membranes of the fetus, that provides for the nourishment of the fetus and the elimination of its waste products.

  2. Botany.

    • the part of the ovary of flowering plants that bears the ovules.

    • (in ferns and related plants) the tissue giving rise to sporangia.

Origin of placenta

1670–80; <New Latin: something having a flat, circular form, Latin: a cake <Greek plakóenta, accusative of plakóeis flat cake, derivative of pláx (genitive plakós) flat

Other words from placenta

  • pla·cen·tal, plac·en·tar·y [plas-uhn-ter-ee, pluh-sen-tuh-ree], /ˈplæs ənˌtɛr i, pləˈsɛn tə ri/, adjective
  • in·ter·pla·cen·tal, adjective
  • non·pla·cen·tal, adjective
  • pre·pla·cen·tal, adjective
  • sub·pla·cen·ta, noun, plural sub·pla·cen·tas, sub·pla·cen·tae.
  • sub·pla·cen·tal, adjective

Words Nearby placenta Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use placenta in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for placenta


/ (pləˈsɛntə) /

nounplural -tas or -tae (-tiː)
  1. the vascular organ formed in the uterus during pregnancy, consisting of both maternal and embryonic tissues and providing oxygen and nutrients for the fetus and transfer of waste products from the fetal to the maternal blood circulation: See also afterbirth

  2. the corresponding organ or part in certain mammals

  1. botany

    • the part of the ovary of flowering plants to which the ovules are attached

    • the mass of tissue in nonflowering plants that bears the sporangia or spores

Origin of placenta

C17: via Latin from Greek plakoeis flat cake, from plax flat

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

Scientific definitions for placenta


[ plə-sĕn ]

  1. The sac-shaped organ that attaches the embryo or fetus to the uterus during pregnancy in most mammals. Blood flows between mother and fetus through the placenta, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and carrying away fetal waste products. The placenta is expelled after birth.

  2. The part of the ovary of a flowering plant to which the ovules are attached. In a green pepper, for example, the whitish tissue to which the seeds are attached is the placenta.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for placenta


[ (pluh-sen-tuh) ]

An organ that forms in the uterus after the implantation of a zygote. The placenta moves nourishment from the mother's blood to the embryo or fetus; it also sends the embryo or fetus's waste products into the mother's blood to be disposed of by the mother's excretory system. The embryo or fetus is attached to the placenta by the umbilical cord. After birth, the placenta separates from the uterus and is pushed out of the mother's body.

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.