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[am-nee-oh-sen-tee-sis] /ˌæm ni oʊ sɛnˈti sɪs/
noun, plural amniocenteses
[am-nee-oh-sen-tee-seez] /ˌæm ni oʊ sɛnˈti siz/ (Show IPA)
a surgical procedure for obtaining a sample of amniotic fluid from the amniotic sac in the uterus of a pregnant woman by inserting a hollow needle through the abdominal wall, used in diagnosing certain genetic defects or possible obstetric complications.
Origin of amniocentesis
1955-60; amnio- (as combining form of amnion) + centesis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for amniocentesis
  • But encouraging results from other tests, including amniocentesis and an electrocardiogram, allayed the family's fears.
  • Treatment may require repeated amniocentesis during pregnancy.
British Dictionary definitions for amniocentesis


noun (pl) -ses (-siːz)
removal of some amniotic fluid by the insertion into the womb of a hollow needle, for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes
Word Origin
C20: from amnion + centesis, from Greek kentēsis a puncture, from kentein to prick
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
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Word Origin and History for amniocentesis

1958, Modern Latin, from amnion (see amniotic) + centesis "surgical puncture," from Greek kentesis "a pricking," from kentein "to prick," related to kontos "pole" (see center (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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amniocentesis in Medicine

amniocentesis am·ni·o·cen·te·sis (ām'nē-ō-sěn-tē'sĭs)
n. pl. am·ni·o·cen·te·ses (-sēz')
A procedure in which a small sample of amniotic fluid is drawn out of the uterus through a needle inserted in the abdomen and is then analyzed to detect genetic abnormalities in the fetus or to determine the sex of the fetus.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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amniocentesis in Science
A procedure usually done about the sixteenth week of pregnancy in which a small sample of amniotic fluid is drawn out of the uterus through a needle inserted in the abdomen. The fluid is analyzed to determine the gender of the fetus or the presence of genetic abnormalities.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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amniocentesis in Culture
amniocentesis [(am-nee-oh-sen-tee-sis)]

A procedure for finding certain disorders in a fetus during pregnancy. In amniocentesis, a small amount of the salty liquid that surrounds the fetus in the amniotic sac is drawn out through a needle inserted into the mother's abdomen. The fluid generally contains some isolated cells from the fetus. These cells are analyzed to detect abnormalities in the chromosomes of the fetus, such as Down's syndrome, and may also be used to judge some other conditions, such as the maturity of the fetus's lungs.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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