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[hahy-muh n] /ˈhaɪ mən/
noun, Anatomy.
a fold of mucous membrane partly closing the external orifice of the vagina in a virgin.
Origin of hymen
1605-15; < Late Latin hymēn < Greek hymḗn skin, membrane, the virginal membrane


[hahy-muh n] /ˈhaɪ mən/
the ancient Greek god of marriage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hymen
Historical Examples
  • Welting into young Cupid like scissors, and wallopping hymen like fun.

  • So has ended the first stage, in the benign presence of hymen.

    Benjamin Franklin John Torrey Morse, Jr.
  • Lycurgus Mason also always took the view that the "hymen" chapter was drivel.

    A Certain Rich Man William Allen White
  • I shall toe the scratch if you arrange that I lead the American to the altar of hymen.

    The Island Mystery George A. Birmingham
  • Neither his age, nor the doubtful source of his revenue, rendering him an unmarketable commodity in the shambles of hymen.

    The Bunsby papers John Brougham
  • But if she should consent to become his without the blessing of hymen?

    Cleopatra, Complete Georg Ebers
  • Mr. Gladsden went to England to imitate his friend and comrade by sacrificing to hymen.

    The Treasure of Pearls Gustave Aimard
  • However, the wild animal is in hymen's chains, and the cake is cut.

  • hymen's Triumph contains many more passages of notable merit than its predecessor.

  • She colours at half a word—takes the lift of a finger for hymen coming.

British Dictionary definitions for hymen


(anatomy) a fold of mucous membrane that partly covers the entrance to the vagina and is usually ruptured when sexual intercourse takes place for the first time
Derived Forms
hymenal, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Greek: membrane


the Greek and Roman god of marriage
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 hymen

1610s, from French hymen (16c.), from medical Latin, ultimately from Greek hymen "membrane (especially 'virginal membrane,' the membrane par excellence); thin skin," from PIE *syu-men-, from root *syu- "to bind, sew" (see sew). Originally any membrane; present specific meaning begins with Vesalius in the 1555 edition of De humani corporis fabrica. Apparently not directly connected to Hymen, the god of marriage, but sharing the same root and supposed to be related in folk etymology.


1580s, Greek god of marriage, represented as a youth carrying a torch and a veil, perhaps etymologically "the joiner," literally "the one who sews" (two together); see hymen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hymen in Medicine

hymen hy·men (hī'mən)
A membranous fold of tissue that partly or completely occludes the external vaginal orifice.

hy'men·al 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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hymen in Science
A mucous membrane that partly closes the opening of the vagina.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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hymen in Culture
Hymen [(heye-muhn)]

The Greek god of the wedding feast.

hymen [(heye-muhn)]

A thin fold of mucous membrane that covers all or part of the entrance to the vagina.

Note: An apparently intact hymen is valued in some cultures as proof of virginity in a bride; this “proof,” however, is not accurate. The hymen may appear incomplete in a virgin, and it may appear intact in a woman who has engaged in sexual intercourse.
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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