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[pes-uh-ree] /ˈpɛs ə ri/
noun, plural pessaries. Medicine/Medical
a device worn in the vagina to support a displaced uterus.
a vaginal suppository.
diaphragm (def 4).
Origin of pessary
1350-1400; Middle English pessarie < Late Latin pessārium a suppository, equivalent to Latin pess(um), pess(us) (< Greek pessós oval stone used in a game) + -ārium -ary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pessary
Historical Examples
  • Wash the pessary in clear cold water, dry well and place away in the box.

    Family Limitation Margaret Sanger
  • The pessary should, of course, never be worn during the menstrual period.

    Safe Marriage Ettie A. Rout
  • Sometimes a pessary which prevents the anteversion is efficient.

    Woman William J. Robinson
  • If there is inflammation of the womb, this must be subdued before using the pessary.

  • A doctor's help is needed only when first selecting the right size of pessary.

    Safe Marriage Ettie A. Rout
  • The thickened rim retains this circular shape by means of enclosed spiral spring when the pessary is in position.

    Safe Marriage Ettie A. Rout
  • I recommend the use of the pessary as the most convenient, the cheapest and the safest.

    Family Limitation Margaret Sanger
  • It seems inartistic and sordid to insert a pessary or a suppository in anticipation of the sexual act.

    Family Limitation Margaret Sanger
  • Or make a pessary of lead only, dip it in the above mentioned things, and put it up.

  • After the pessary had been placed in position every trace of pain, etc., left me.

British Dictionary definitions for pessary


noun (med) (pl) -ries
a device for inserting into the vagina, either as a support for the uterus or (diaphragm pessary) to deliver a drug, such as a contraceptive
a medicated vaginal suppository
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin pessārium, from Latin pessum, from Greek pessos plug
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 pessary

c.1400, from Late Latin pessarium, from Greek pessarion "medicated tampon of wool or lint," diminutive of pessos "pessary," earlier "oval stone used in games," perhaps of Semitic origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pessary in Medicine

pessary pes·sa·ry (pěs'ə-rē)

  1. Any of various devices worn in the vagina to support or correct the position of the uterus or rectum.

  2. A contraceptive diaphragm.

  3. A medicated vaginal suppository.

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