Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?

spinal tap

noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for spinal tap
  • For information on how this procedure is performed, see spinal tap.
  • The procedure was a spinal tap and a pneumoencephalogram.
  • The night team thought it might be meningitis, so they did a spinal tap.
  • She did a spinal tap so she could get some fluid out of his spinal column to see if it was infected.
  • The initial results of her spinal tap were normal too.
  • They did a spinal tap on her, a blood culture, and they never did diagnose what it was.
  • Others are looking for biomarkers of the disease in cerebrospinal fluid--obtained with a spinal tap--and in blood.
  • Collection of cerebrospinal fluid by spinal tap may be necessary to diagnose the disease.
  • The spinal fluid is obtained by performing a spinal tap, where a needle is inserted into the lower back.
  • She has been sent there from the student health center for tests, including a spinal tap.
spinal tap in Medicine

spinal tap n.
See lumbar puncture.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
spinal tap in Science
spinal tap  
See lumbar puncture.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for spinal tap

lumbar puncture

direct aspiration (fluid withdrawal) of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) through a hollow needle. The needle is inserted in the lower back, usually between the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae, into the subarachnoid space of the spinal cord where the CSF is located. Lumbar puncture is generally performed to obtain pressure measurements and to withdraw CSF in order to secure a sample of CSF for cellular, chemical, and bacteriologic examination; to administer spinal anesthetics or antibiotics; to inject air or a radiopaque or water-soluble contrast medium substance for myelography; or to inject a radioactive substance to assist in the diagnosis of CSF leak or hydrocephalus.

Learn more about lumbar puncture with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for spinal tap

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for spinal

Scrabble Words With Friends