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[fuh-rey-muh n] /fəˈreɪ mən/
noun, plural foramina
[fuh-ram-uh-nuh] /fəˈræm ə nə/ (Show IPA)
an opening, orifice, or short passage, as in a bone or in the integument of the ovule of a plant.
Origin of foramen
1665-75; < Latin forāmen hole, opening, equivalent to forā(re) to bore2 “pierce” + -men resultative noun suffix
Related forms
[fuh-ram-uh-nl] /fəˈræm ə nl/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for foramen
  • As the nerve enters the optic foramen its dural sheath becomes continuous with that lining the orbit and the optic foramen.
  • In the optic foramen the ophthalmic artery lies below and to its outer side.
  • The mid-point of the posterior margin of the foramen magnum.
  • The mid-point of the anterior margin of the foramen magnum.
  • The vertebral foramen is small, and of a circular form.
  • In or near the last suture is the mastoid foramen, for the transmission of an emissary vein.
  • Near the middle of this line a nutrient foramen is often seen.
  • The nerve also sends a small branch to the bone, which enters the nutrient foramen with the accompanying artery.
  • As it descends, it sometimes divides into two smaller folds, which are lost on the sides of the foramen magnum.
British Dictionary definitions for foramen


noun (pl) -ramina (-ˈræmɪnə), -ramens
a natural hole, esp one in a bone through which nerves and blood vessels pass
Derived Forms
foraminal (fɒˈræmɪnəl) adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin, from forāre to bore, pierce
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 foramen

plural foramina, 1670s, from Latin foramen "hole, opening, aperture, orifice," from forare "to pierce" (see bore (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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foramen in Medicine

foramen fo·ra·men (fə-rā'mən)
n. pl. fo·ra·mens or fo·ram·i·na (-rām'ə-nə)
An aperture or perforation through a bone or a membranous structure.

fo·ram'i·nal (-rām'ə-nəl) or fo·ram'i·nous (-nəs) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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foramen in Science
Plural foramina (fə-rām'ə-nə) or foramens
An opening or short passage, especially in the body. ◇ The large opening in the base of the skull through which the spinal cord passes is called the foramen magnum (māg'nəm). ◇ The opening in the septum between the right and left atria of the heart, present in the fetus but usually closed soon after birth, is the foramen ovale (ō-vāl'ē, -vā'lē, -vä'-).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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