[ vas ]
/ væs /

noun, plural va·sa [vey-suh]. /ˈveɪ sə/. Anatomy, Zoology, Botany.

a vessel or duct.



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What does “vacillate” mean?

Origin of vas

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

Definition for vas (2 of 2)


variant of vaso- before a vowel: vasectomy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


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?

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.