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Origin of rectal

First recorded in 1870–75; rect(um) + -al1
Related formsrec·tal·ly, adverbpost·rec·tal, adjectivepre·rec·tal, adjectivesub·rec·tal, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for rectal


  1. of or relating to the rectum
Derived Formsrectally, adverb
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 rectal

1822, from stem of rectum + -al (1). Related: Rectally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rectal in Medicine


  1. Of, relating to, or situated near the rectum.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

rectal in Science


Plural rectums recta
  1. The last section of the digestive tract, extending from the colon to the anus, in which feces is stored for elimination from the body.
Related formsrectal adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.