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[rek-tuh m] /ˈrɛk təm/
noun, plural rectums, recta
[rek-tuh] /ˈrɛk tə/ (Show IPA).
the comparatively straight, terminal section of the intestine, ending in the anus.
Origin of rectum
1535-45; < New Latin rēctum (intestīnum) the straight (intestine) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rectum
  • Omitting the hollow needles and rectum bits if you please.
  • The feces are moved into the rectum to await expulsion.
  • Sometimes biopsies were taken from her lymph nodes or rectum.
  • Water is reabsorbed into the body while the feces are moved into the rectum to await expulsion.
  • The colon, or large intestine, is a muscular tube that begins at the end of the small intestine and ends at the rectum.
  • Ulcerative colitis almost always involves the lower left colon and rectum.
  • For the test, barium sulfate is inserted into the rectum using a small, flexible tube.
  • One brother recently developed cancer in his rectum even though his colon had been removed.
  • Both tests require inserting long tubes equipped with cameras into the rectum to search for abnormal tissue.
  • The defects included heart problems, cleft lip, cleft palate and abnormalities in the esophagus or rectum.
British Dictionary definitions for rectum


noun (pl) -tums, -ta (-tə)
the lower part of the alimentary canal, between the sigmoid flexure of the colon and the anus
Word Origin
C16: shortened from New Latin rectum intestinum the straight intestine
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 rectum

early 15c., from Latin intestinum rectum "straight intestine," in contrast to the convolution of the rest of the bowels, from neuter past participle of regere "to straighten" (see regal). A loan-translation of Greek apeuthysmeon enteron, "the name given to the lowest part of the large intestine by Galen, who so called it because he dissected only animals whose rectum (in contradistinction to that of man) is really straight" [Klein].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rectum in Medicine

rectum rec·tum (rěk'təm)
n. pl. rec·tums or rec·ta (-tə)
The terminal portion of the large intestine, extending from the sigmoid flexure to the anal canal.

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

rectum definition

The outermost portion of the large intestine. Feces are stored in the rectum until they are passed out of the body through the anus.

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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