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[yoo-ree-thruh] /yʊˈri θrə/
noun, plural urethrae
[yoo-ree-three] /yʊˈri θri/ (Show IPA),
urethras. Anatomy
the membranous tube that extends from the urinary bladder to the exterior and that in the male conveys semen as well as urine.
Origin of urethra
1625-35; < Late Latin < Greek ourḗthra, equivalent to ourē- (see ureter) + -thra noun suffix
Related forms
urethral, adjective
suburethral, adjective
transurethral, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for urethra
  • Estrogen deficiencies after menopause can cause the urethra to thin out so that it may not close properly.
  • However, bladder obstruction can also be caused by other conditions including weak bladder muscles and problems in the urethra.
  • As you start to urinate, allow a small amount to fall into the toilet bowl to clear the urethra of contaminants.
  • Urinate a small amount into the toilet bowl to clear the urethra of any contaminants.
  • When the bladder is full, it squeezes and sends the urine out through your urethra.
  • The endoscope used is inserted through the urethra, and that insertion can cause damage.
  • It is continuous above through the ureters with the lining membrane of the renal tubules, and below with that of the urethra.
  • The submucous plexus is continuous with the submucous plexus of the urethra.
  • Fluid from the urethra is collected on a cotton swab.
  • If the swollen prostate restricts urine flow through the urethra, the bladder may not empty.
British Dictionary definitions for urethra


noun (pl) -thrae (-θriː), -thras
the canal that in most mammals conveys urine from the bladder out of the body. In human males it also conveys semen
Derived Forms
urethral, adjective
Word Origin
C17: via Late Latin from Greek ourēthra, from ourein to urinate
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 urethra

"canal through which urine is discharged from the bladder," 1630s, from Late Latin urethra, from Greek ourethra "the passage for urine," coined by Hippocrates from ourein "to urinate," from ouron (see urine).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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urethra in Medicine

urethra u·re·thra (yu-rē'thrə)
n. pl. u·re·thras or u·re·thrae (-thrē)
The canal through which urine is discharged from the bladder in most mammals and through which semen is discharged in the male. Also called urogenital canal.

u·re'thral adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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urethra in Science
Plural urethras or urethrae (y-rē'thrē)
The duct through which urine passes from the bladder to the outside of the body in most mammals and some fish and birds. In males, the urethra passes through the penis and also serves as the duct for the release of sperm, which enter the urethra from the vas deferens.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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urethra in Culture
urethra [(yoo-ree-thruh)]

A tube through which urine moves from the urinary bladder out of the body. In the male, the urethra also acts as the passageway for semen.

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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