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fetus

[fee-tuh s] /ˈfi təs/
noun, plural fetuses. Embryology
1.
(used chiefly of viviparous mammals) the young of an animal in the womb or egg, especially in the later stages of development when the body structures are in the recognizable form of its kind, in humans after the end of the second month of gestation.
Also, especially British, foetus.
Compare embryo (def 2).
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin fētus bringing forth of young, hence that which is born, offspring, young still in the womb, equivalent to fē- (v. base attested in L only in noun derivatives, as fēmina woman, fēcundus fecund, etc.; compare Greek thēsthai to suck, milk, Old High German tāan to suck, Old Irish denid (he) sucks) + -tus suffix of v. action
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for fetus
  • He made one of the first scientific drawings of a fetus in utero.
  • Halfway through gestation the fetus is the size of between a rabbit and a beagle.
  • Two words used to describe human offspring while in utero are embryo and fetus.
British Dictionary definitions for fetus

fetus

/ˈfiːtəs/
noun (pl) -tuses
1.
the embryo of a mammal in the later stages of development, when it shows all the main recognizable features of the mature animal, esp a human embryo from the end of the second month of pregnancy until birth Compare embryo (sense 2)
Word Origin
C14: from Latin: offspring, brood
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 fetus
n.

late 14c., "the young while in the womb or egg," from Latin fetus (often, incorrectly, foetus) "the bearing, bringing forth, or hatching of young," from Latin base *fe- "to generate, bear," also "to suck, suckle" (see fecund).

In Latin, fetus sometimes was transferred figuratively to the newborn creature itself, or used in a sense of "offspring, brood" (cf. Horace's "Germania quos horrida parturit Fetus"), but this was not the basic meaning. Also used of plants, in the sense of "fruit, produce, shoot." The spelling foetus is sometimes attempted as a learned Latinism, but it is not historic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fetus in Medicine

fetus fe·tus (fē'təs)
n. pl. fe·tus·es

  1. The unborn young of a viviparous vertebrate having a basic structural resemblance to the adult animal.

  2. In humans, the unborn young from the end of the eighth week after conception to the moment of birth.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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fetus in Science
fetus
  (fē'təs)   
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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fetus in Culture

fetus definition


The embryo of an animal that bears its young alive (rather than laying eggs). In humans, the embryo is called a fetus after all major body structures have formed; this stage is reached about sixty days after fertilization.

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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