[ po-steer-ee-er, poh- ]
/ pɒˈstɪər i ər, poʊ- /


situated behind or at the rear of; hinder (opposed to anterior).
coming after in order, as in a series.
coming after in time; later; subsequent (sometimes followed by to).
Anatomy, Zoology.
  1. (in quadrupeds) pertaining to or toward the rear or caudal end of the body.
  2. (in humans and other primates) pertaining to or toward the back plane of the body, equivalent to the dorsal surface of quadrupeds.
Botany. toward the back and near the main axis, as the upper lip of a flower.


the hinder parts or rump of the body; buttocks.

Origin of posterior

1525–35; < Latin, comparative of posterus coming after, derivative of post after

Related forms

pos·te·ri·or·ly, adverb

Synonym study

1. See back1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for posterior

British Dictionary definitions for posterior


/ (pɒˈstɪərɪə) /



the buttocks; rump
statistics a posterior probability
Compare anterior

Derived Forms

posteriorly, adverb

Word Origin for posterior

C16: from Latin: latter, from posterus coming next, from post after
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

Medicine definitions for posterior


[ pŏ-stîrē-ər, pō- ]


Located behind a part or toward the rear of a structure.
Relating to the caudal end of the body in quadrupeds or the dorsal side in humans.
Near the tail or caudal end of certain embryos.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.