[po-steer-ee-er, poh-]


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 formspos·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

Contemporary Examples of posterior

Historical Examples of posterior

British Dictionary definitions for posterior



situated at the back of or behind something
coming after or following another in a series
coming after in time
zoology (of animals) of or near the hind end
botany (of a flower) situated nearest to the main stem
anatomy dorsal or towards the spine


the buttocks; rump
statistics a posterior probability
Compare anterior
Derived Formsposteriorly, 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

Word Origin and History for posterior

1530s, "later," from Latin posterior "after, later, behind," comparative of posterus "coming after, subsequent," from post "after" (see post-). Meaning "situated behind" is from 1630s.


"buttocks," euphemistic, 1610s, from posterior (adj.). Earlier it meant "those who come after, posterity" (1530s). Cf. Lithuanian pasturas "the last, the hindmost," from pas "at, by."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

posterior in Medicine


[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.