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[kon-stuh-pey-shuh n] /ˌkɒn stəˈpeɪ ʃən/
a condition of the bowels in which the feces are dry and hardened and evacuation is difficult and infrequent.
Informal. a state of slowing down, sluggishness, or inactivity.
Obsolete. the act of crowding anything into a smaller compass; condensation.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English constipacioun (< Middle French) < Late Latin constīpātiōn- (stem of constīpātiō). See constipate, -ion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for constipation
  • Decreased or absent bowel sounds often indicate constipation.
  • Drugs designed to induce constipation afford only temporary relief.
  • Morphine shots can carry many side effects, he said-especially constipation.
  • constipation affects mostly those who are dyspeptic or who sit too much or too long.
  • With little fiber humans suffered from constipation and increased risks of gastrointestinal cancers.
  • In the past, she had occasionally been troubled by constipation.
  • Fibroid pressure against the rectum can cause constipation.
  • Get treated for a chronic cough or constipation if you have a hernia.
  • Drinking lots of fluids is particularly important in preventing constipation.
  • Attacks can occur suddenly, usually with severe abdominal pain followed by vomiting and constipation.
British Dictionary definitions for constipation


infrequent or difficult evacuation of the bowels, with hard faeces, caused by functional or organic disorders or improper diet
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 constipation

c.1400, "constriction of tissue," from Late Latin constipationem (nominative constipatio), noun of state from Latin constipare "to press or crowd together," from com- "together" (see com-) + stipare "to cram, pack" (see stiff (adj.)). Specifically of the bowel condition since 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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constipation in Medicine

constipation con·sti·pa·tion (kŏn'stə-pā'shən)
Difficult, incomplete, or infrequent evacuation of dry, hardened feces from the bowels.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for constipation

delayed passage of waste through the lower portion of the large intestine, with the possible discharge of relatively dry, hardened feces from the anus. Among the causes cited for the disorder are lack of regularity in one's eating habits, spasms of the large intestine, metabolic diseases such as hypothyroidism or diabetes mellitus, neurological disorders such as a stroke, certain medications including morphine, codeine, antidepressants, and antispasmodics, lack of sufficient fibre in one's food, and excessive use of laxatives. Constipation may also be caused by intestinal obstruction by tumours or polyps or by weakness of the abdominal muscles. Temporary constipation most often occurs in conjunction with a change or interruption in one's usual activities, as in travel, temporary confinement to bed, or a change in eating or sleeping habits. In most cases, dietary and lifestyle changes can help relieve constipation.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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