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[klit-er-is, klahy-ter-, kli-tawr-is, -tohr-] /ˈklɪt ər ɪs, ˈklaɪ tər-, klɪˈtɔr ɪs, -ˈtoʊr-/
noun, Anatomy
the erectile organ of the vulva, homologous to the penis of the male.
1605-15; < Greek kleitorís, akin to kleíein to shut
Related forms
clitoral, clitoric
[kli-tawr-ik, -tor-, klahy-] /klɪˈtɔr ɪk, -ˈtɒr-, klaɪ-/ (Show IPA),
[klit-uh-rid-ee-uh n, klahy-tuh-] /ˌklɪt əˈrɪd i ən, ˌklaɪ tə-/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for clitoridean


/ˈklɪtərɪs; ˈklaɪ-/
a part of the female genitalia consisting of a small elongated highly sensitive erectile organ at the front of the vulva: homologous with the penis
Derived Forms
clitoral, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin, from Greek kleitoris; related to Greek kleiein to close
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for clitoridean
1615, coined in Mod.L., from Gk. kleitoris, a diminutive, but the exact sense is uncertain. Probably from Gk. kleiein "to sheathe," also "to shut," in reference to its being covered by the labia minora. The related noun form kleis has a second meaning of "a key, a latch or hook (to close a door)." Wooden pegs were the original keys; a connection also revealed in L. clovis "nail" and claudere "to shut" (see close (v.)). Some medical sources give a supposed Gk. verb kleitoriazein "to touch or titillate lasciviously, to tickle," lit. "to be inclined (toward pleasure)" (cf. Ger. slang der Kitzler "clitoris," lit. "the tickler"), related to Gk. kleitys, a variant of klitys "side of a hill," related to klinein "to slope," from the same root as climax. But many sources take kleitoris literally as Gk. "little hill." The It. anatomist Mateo Renaldo Colombo (1516-1559), professor at Padua, claimed to have discovered it (De re anatomica, 1559, p. 243). He called it amor Veneris, vel dulcedo "the love or sweetness of Venus." It had been known to women since much earlier, of course.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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clitoridean in Medicine

clitoris clit·o·ris (klĭt'ər-ĭs, klī'tər-)
n. pl. cli·to·ri·des (klĭ-tôr'ĭ-dēz')
A small erectile body situated at the anterior portion of the vulva and projecting between the branched extremities of the labia minora forming its prepuce and frenulum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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clitoridean in Science
  (klĭt'ər-ĭs, klĭ-tôr'ĭs)   
A sensitive external organ of the reproductive system in female mammals and some other animals that is capable of becoming erect. It is located above or in front of the urethra.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for clitoridean


female erogenous organ capable of erection under sexual stimulation. A female homologue of the male penis, the clitoris develops (as does the penis) from the genital tubercle of the fetus, and it plays an important role in female sexual response

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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