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[feet-l] /ˈfit l/
adjective, Embryology
of, relating to, or having the character of a fetus.
Also, foetal.
Origin of fetal
1805-15; fet(us) + -al1
Related forms
postfetal, adjective
postfoetal, adjective
Can be confused
fatal, fateful, fetal (see synonym study at fatal) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fetal
  • Brains are expensive-it takes a lot of energy to build brains during fetal and childhood development and maintain them in adults.
  • There is also a fetal skull with a flexible gooseneck wire.
  • Intervening in fetal nutrition is not a simple matter, of course.
  • Neither should such hybrids be nurtured to a late-fetal stage, then harvested.
  • The company's cells are isolated from human fetal tissue and then grown in culture.
  • He dived halfway down a flight of stairs and curled up in a fetal position on a landing.
  • Hormones are what tell the fetal cell what it will be when it grows up.
  • Interest returns in using fetal cells to repair damaged brains.
  • My first reaction was that regulatory agencies stop worrying about non-fetal stem cell research.
  • The fetal surface of the placenta is smooth, being closely invested by the amnion.
British Dictionary definitions for fetal


of, relating to, or resembling a fetus
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 fetal

1811, from fetus + -al (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fetal in Medicine

fetal fe·tal (fēt'l)
Of, relating to, or being a 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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fetal in Science
The unborn offspring of a mammal at the later stages of its development, especially a human from eight weeks after fertilization to its birth. In a fetus, all major body organs are present.

fetal adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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