[ rek-tuh m ]
/ ˈrɛk təm /

noun, plural rec·tums, rec·ta [rek-tuh] /ˈrɛk tə/. Anatomy.

the comparatively straight, terminal section of the intestine, ending in the anus.

Origin of rectum

1535–45; < New Latin rēctum (intestīnum) the straight (intestine) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rectum

British Dictionary definitions for rectum


/ (ˈrɛktəm) /

noun plural -tums or -ta (-tə)

the lower part of the alimentary canal, between the sigmoid flexure of the colon and the anus

Word Origin for rectum

C16: shortened from New Latin rectum intestinum the straight intestine
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 rectum



early 15c., from Latin intestinum rectum "straight intestine," in contrast to the convolution of the rest of the bowels, from neuter past participle of regere "to straighten" (see regal). A loan-translation of Greek apeuthysmeon enteron, "the name given to the lowest part of the large intestine by Galen, who so called it because he dissected only animals whose rectum (in contradistinction to that of man) is really straight" [Klein].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for rectum


[ rĕktəm ]

n. pl. rec•tums

The terminal portion of the large intestine, extending from the sigmoid flexure to the anal canal.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for rectum


[ rĕktəm ]

Plural rectums recta

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.

Culture definitions for rectum


The outermost portion of the large intestine. Feces are stored in the rectum until they are passed out of the body through the anus.

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.