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[rek-tl] /ˈrɛk tl/
of, relating to, or for the rectum.
Origin of rectal
1870-75; rect(um) + -al1
Related forms
rectally, adverb
postrectal, adjective
prerectal, adjective
subrectal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rectal
  • The job consisted of taking the temperature every four hours of two to three foot long alligators- with a rectal thermometer.
  • The rats' rectal temperatures lowered after the injection, and the effect lasted for an hour and a half.
  • The facial tube is loosely attached to the rectal wall by areolar tissue in order to allow of distension of the viscus.
  • The first two tests were performed by digital rectal examination and then by prostate specific antigen testing.
  • But along with pleasure inevitably comes pain, and the rectal exam of driving appears to be parallel parking.
  • Pilots who are in the air throughout their careers have a higher incidence of colon, rectal, prostate and brain cancers.
  • Then came rectal cancer and a car accident that left his painting arm temporarily immobilized.
  • The first symptoms of ulcerative colitis are often rectal bleeding and diarrhea.
  • It used to be that doctors could check for prostate problems with only the rectal exam, but that was long ago.
  • He has colitis and he's had rectal bleeding for about three months.
British Dictionary definitions for rectal


of or relating to the rectum
Derived Forms
rectally, adverb
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 rectal

1822, from stem of rectum + -al (1). Related: Rectally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rectal in Medicine

rectal rec·tal (rěk'təl)
Of, relating to, or situated near the rectum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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rectal in Science
Plural rectums or recta
The last section of the digestive tract, extending from the colon to the anus, in which feces is stored for elimination from the body.

rectal adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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