- either of two large veins discharging blood into the right atrium of the heart, one (superior vena cava or precava) conveying blood from the head, chest, and upper extremities and the other (inferior vena cava or postcava) conveying blood from all parts below the diaphragm.
Origin of vena cava
First recorded in 1590–1600, vena cava is from the Latin word vēna cava hollow vein
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- either one of the two large veins that convey oxygen-depleted blood to the heart
Latin: hollow vein
Word Origin and History for vena cava
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Either of the two venae cavae, designated inferior and superior.cava
- Either of two large veins that carry blood with low levels of oxygen to the right atrium of the heart.♦ The superior vena cava receives blood from the brain and upper limbs or forelimbs.♦ The inferior vena cava drains blood from the trunk and lower limbs or hindlimbs and is the largest vein in the body.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.