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[kath-i-ter] /ˈkæθ ɪ tər/
noun, Medicine/Medical
a flexible or rigid hollow tube employed to drain fluids from body cavities or to distend body passages, especially one for passing into the bladder through the urethra to draw off urine or into the heart through a leg vein or arm vein for diagnostic examination.
Origin of catheter
1595-1605; < Late Latin < Greek kathetḗr kind of tube, literally, something sent or let down, equivalent to kathe- (variant stem of kathiénai, equivalent to kat- cata- + hiénai to send, let go) + -tḗr agent suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for catheter
  • It is also more common if a urinary catheter is placed.
  • Once the catheter is in place, dye is injected into the catheter.
  • The catheter will be moved forward into the right side of the heart.
  • Although surgery may be used to treat it, a nonsurgical technique called catheter ablation is becoming increasingly popular.
  • The doctor will carefully guide the catheter up to your neck to the blockage in your carotid artery.
  • The health care provider gently moves the catheter through the blood vessel up to the area being studied.
  • By the insertion of hollow tubes over the needles, the catheter track is stretched to about one-half inch in diameter.
  • Intense heat will reach the vein through the catheter in the vein.
  • Patients with a chronic blockage are at a higher risk for complications due to catheter use.
  • The artery is opened during a diagnostic procedure in which a catheter is threaded through the arteries to the heart.
British Dictionary definitions for catheter


(med) a long slender flexible tube for inserting into a natural bodily cavity or passage for introducing or withdrawing fluid, such as urine or blood
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin, from Greek kathetēr, from kathienai to send down, insert
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 catheter

c.1600, from French cathéter, from Late Latin catheter "a catheter," from Greek katheter "surgical catheter," literally "anything let down," from stem of kathienai "to let down, thrust in," from kata "down" (see cata-) + stem of hienai "to send" (see jet (v.)). Earlier was cathirum (early 15c.), directly from Medieval Latin. Related: Catheterization; catheterized; catheterizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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catheter in Medicine

catheter cath·e·ter (kāth'ĭ-tər)
A hollow, flexible tube inserted into a body cavity, duct, or vessel to allow the passage of fluids or distend a passageway; its many uses include the diagnosis of heart disorders when inserted through a blood vessel into the heart.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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catheter in Science
A hollow, flexible tube inserted into a body cavity, duct, or vessel to allow the passage of fluids or distend a passageway.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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catheter in Culture
catheter [(kath-uh-tuhr)]

A thin tube inserted into one of the channels or blood vessels in the body to remove fluids, create an opening into an internal cavity, or administer injections.

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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