[ vas ]
/ væs /
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noun, plural va·sa [vey-suh]. /ˈveɪ sə/. Anatomy, Zoology, Botany.
a vessel or duct.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
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Which form is commonly used with other verbs to express intention?

Origin of vas

First recorded in 1645–55, vas is from the Latin word vās vessel

Other definitions for vas (2 of 2)


variant of vaso- before a vowel: vasectomy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does vas- mean?

Vas- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “vessel,” typically referring to blood vessels, such as veins and arteries. It is often used in medical terms, especially in anatomy.

In some instances, vas- specifically refers to the vas deferens, the duct that carries sperm to the penis.

Vas- is a variant of vaso-, which loses its -o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use vaso- article.

Vas- comes from the Latin vās, meaning “vessel.” The Latin vās is also the source of the word vase, which is, after all, a type of vessel—often for flowers! And the diminutive form of vās is vāsculum, literally “little vessel”; it’s the source of the word vascular, commonly encountered in cardiovascular.

Learn more about cardio- at our Words That Use cardio- and Words That Use cardi- articles.

Examples of vas-

Perhaps you’ve heard of a vasectomy. A vasectomy, the (generally reversible) excision of the vas deferens or a portion it, is usually performed to make men sterile.

We know now that vas- refers to various “vessels” in the body, including the sperm-carrying duct known as the vas deferens. The -ectomy portion of the word vasectomy is a combining form meaning “excision,” specifically the removal of a part of the body. So, a vasectomy is literally just “excision of the vas deferens.”

What are some words that use the combining form vas-?

There are many other words that begin with the letter vas-, such as vast and vassal, that don’t use vas- as a combining form to refer to blood vessels.

And have you ever used Vaseline? Well, the brand name of this popular petroleum product is actually a combination of the German Wasser (“water”) and the Greek word for oil.

Break it down!

The combining form -itis is often used to denote “inflammation.” And vas- is often specifically used to refer to the vas deferens. With this in mind, what is vasitis?

How to use vas in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vas (1 of 2)

/ (væs) /

noun plural vasa (ˈveɪsə)
anatomy zoology a vessel, duct, or tube that carries a fluid

Word Origin for vas

C17: from Latin: vessel

British Dictionary definitions for vas (2 of 2)


combining form
a variant of vaso-
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

Medical definitions for vas (1 of 2)

[ văs ]

n. pl. va•sa ()
An anatomical duct or canal conveying any liquid, such as blood, lymph, chyle, or semen.

Medical definitions for vas (2 of 2)


Variant ofvaso-
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.