1 [dawr-suhl]
of, pertaining to, or situated at the back, or dorsum.
Anatomy, Zoology.
situated on or toward the upper side of the body, equivalent to the back, or posterior, in humans.
situated on or toward the posterior plane in humans or toward the upper plane in quadrupeds.
Botany. pertaining to the surface away from the axis, as of a leaf; abaxial.
Phonetics. (of a speech sound) articulated with the dorsum of the tongue.
Phonetics. a dorsal speech sound.
Anatomy. a dorsal structure.

1535–45; < Medieval Latin dorsālis, equivalent to Latin dors(um) back + -ālis -al1

dorsally, adverb Unabridged


2 [dawr-suhl]
dossal ( def 1 ). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dorsal (ˈdɔːsəl)
1.  anatomy, zoology Compare ventral relating to the back or spinal part of the body
2.  botany of, relating to, or situated on the side of an organ that is directed away from the axis
3.  articulated with the back of the tongue, as the (k) sound in English coot
[C15: from Medieval Latin dorsālis, from Latin dorsum back]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1540s, from M.Fr. dorsal, from L.L. dorsalis, from L. dorsualis "of the back," from dorsum "back," of uncertain origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

dorsal dor·sal (dôr'səl)

  1. Of, toward, on, in, or near the back or upper surface of an organ, a part, or an organism.

  2. Lying on the back; supine.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
dorsal   (dôr'səl)  Pronunciation Key 
Relating to or on the back or upper surface of an animal.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Subspecies of this striking sea star are identified by differences in the
  plates that cover their dorsal side.
On one occasion, she grabbed the skin under a whale shark's first dorsal fin as
  it cruised by.
Many dolphins have a pronounced beak and all have a central dorsal fin and
  sharp teeth for feeding, mainly on squid and fish.
Their extra-tall, pointed dorsal fins are easily identifiable.
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