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[ney-vuh l] /ˈneɪ vəl/
umbilicus (def 1).
the central point or middle of any thing or place.
Heraldry. nombril.
Origin of navel
before 900; Middle English; Old English nafela; cognate with Dutch navel, German Nabel, Old Norse nafli; akin to Sanskrit nābhīla, Latin umbilīcus, Greek omphalós
Can be confused
naval, navel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for navel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The child is immediately washed with water and some medicine sprinkled over its navel.19 It is then returned to its mother.

    The Manbos of Mindano John M. Garvan
  • Then again, in the human body the central point is naturally the navel.

  • Thirteen out of each hundred are about evenly divided between Thigh and navel Rupture.

    Cluthe's Advice to the Ruptured Chas. Cluthe & Sons
  • It is often seen at the navel and sometimes in the groin as early as the second week.

    The Mother and Her Child William S. Sadler
  • It would be related how the oldest and most sacred city, or rather temple, was erected exactly on the navel.

    Storyology Benjamin Taylor
  • If this is so, "el Cuzco" has the significance of "the navel" (of the World).

  • The forests abound with wild hogs of two different species, called Warry and Pecara, having a small tit or navel on their backs.

    Journal of Voyages Jacob Dunham
British Dictionary definitions for navel


the scar in the centre of the abdomen, usually forming a slight depression, where the umbilical cord was attached Technical name umbilicus, related adjective umbilical
a central part, location, or point; middle
short for navel orange
Word Origin
Old English nafela; related to Old Frisian navla, Old High German nabulo (German Nabel), Latin umbilīcus
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 navel

Old English nafela, nabula, from Proto-Germanic *nabalan (cf. Old Norse nafli, Danish and Swedish navle, Old Frisian navla, Middle Dutch and Dutch navel, Old High German nabalo, German Nabel), from PIE *(o)nobh- "navel" (cf. Sanskrit nabhila "navel, nave, relationship;" Avestan nafa "navel," naba-nazdishta "next of kin;" Persian naf; Latin umbilicus "navel;" Old Prussian nabis "navel;" Greek omphalos; Old Irish imbliu). For Romanic words, see umbilicus.

"Navel" words from other roots include Lithuanian bamba, Sanskrit bimba- (also "disk, sphere"), Greek bembix, literally "whirlpool." Old Church Slavonic papuku, Lithuanian pumpuras are originally "bud." Considered a feminine sexual center since ancient times, and still in parts of the Middle East, India, and Japan. In medieval Europe, it was averred that "[t]he seat of wantonness in women is the navel." [Cambridge bestiary, C.U.L. ii.4.26] Words for it in most languages have a secondary sense of "center." Meaning "center or hub of a country" is attested in English from late 14c. To contemplate (one's) navel "meditate" is from 1933; hence navel-gazer (1952); cf. omphaloskepsis. Navel orange attested from 1888.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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navel in Medicine

navel na·vel (nā'vəl)
The mark on the surface of the abdomen that indicates where the umbilical cord was attached to the fetus during gestation. Also called bellybutton, umbilicus.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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