Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sewer or latrine.
  • n. Zoology The common cavity into which the intestinal, genital, and urinary tracts open in vertebrates such as fish, reptiles, birds, and some primitive mammals.
  • n. Zoology The posterior part of the intestinal tract in various invertebrates.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sewer.
  • n. A privy.
  • n. The common duct in fish, reptiles, birds and some primitive mammals that serves as the anus as well as the genital opening.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sewer.
  • n. A privy.
  • n. The common chamber into which the intestinal, urinary, and generative canals discharge in birds, reptiles, amphibians, and many fishes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An underground conduit for drainage; a common sewer: as, the cloaca maxima at Rome.
  • n. A sink; a privy.
  • n. [NL.] In zoology: In vertebrates, the enlarged termination of the rectum or lower bowel, forming a cavity originally in common with that of the allantois (in those animals which have an allantois) and permanently in common with the termination of the urogenital organs; the common chamber into which the intestine, ureters, sperm-ducts, and oviducts open, in sundry fishes, in reptiles and birds, and in the ornithodelphous mammals.
  • n. In invertebrates, the homologous or analogous and corresponding structure effecting sewerage of the body: as in sponges, the common cavity in which the interstitial canal-systems open; in holothurians, the respiratory tree (which see, under respiratory).
  • n. In entomology: A cavity found in many insects at the end of the abdomen, between the last dorsal and ventral segments, and receiving the extremity of the rectum. Also called the rectogenital chamber. The cæcum, or dilatation of the posterior end of the intestine.
  • n. In ascidians, the common central cavity into which open the atrial chambers of all the ascidiozooids of an ascidiarium.
  • n. [NL.] In pathology: In cases of necrosis, the opening in the sound bone which leads to the inclosed dead bone.
  • n. The union of rectum, bladder, and organs of generation in a common outlet: a malformation resulting from arrest of development.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (zoology) the cavity (in birds, reptiles, amphibians, most fish, and monotremes but not mammals) at the end of the digestive tract into which the intestinal, genital, and urinary tracts open
  • n. a waste pipe that carries away sewage or surface water

Etymologies

Latin cloāca, sewer, canal.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin cloāca ("sewer"), from cluō ("cleanse"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Luther is quoted as saying he was "in cloaca", or in the sewer, when he was inspired to argue that salvation is granted because of faith, not deeds.

    Archive 2004-10-01

  • Turtles under the ice breathe through their skin and through an allpurpose opening called the cloaca.

    The Field Guide to Wildlife Habitats of the Eastern United States

  • The Etruscans appear to have taken very great pains with the drainage of their cities; on many sites the cloaca are the only remains of their former industry and greatness which remain.

    Notes and Queries, Number 12, January 19, 1850

  • The anterior end of the fore-gut is separated from the stomodeum by the buccopharyngeal membrane (Fig. 977); the hind-gut ends in the cloaca, which is closed by the cloacal membrane.

    XI. Splanchnology. 2. The Digestive Apparatus

  • The cloaca is a single opening through which urine and faeces are excreted but certain species, including ducks, geese, swans and flamingos also possess a penis.

    BBC News - Home

  • In zoological anatomy, a cloaca is the posterior opening that serves as the only such opening for the intestinal and urinary tracts of certain animal species.

    Latest Articles

  • (known as a cloaca, as in both birds and reptiles).

    PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news stories

  • I don't know about you, but shortly after I hear a cool term I think, "that would be a good machine name." cloaca, "Latin for" sewer. "

    The Lone Sysadmin

  • A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but were it called a maggot, a schist or a cloaca, we would think of it quite differently.

    Why Juliet Could Never Be Plain Julie

  • The male transfers sperm into the female through the cloaca.

    Magellanic penguin

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  • Leonard explores the intestines, where prickly creatures scurry, brushing against his legs. At last he sees daylight and exits through the cloaca.

    - William Steig, The Zabajaba Jungle

    October 5, 2008

  • The Roman, like the Englishman who follows in his footsteps, brought to every new shore on which he set his foot (on our shore he never set it) only his cloacal obsession. He gazed about him in his toga and he said: It is meet to be here. Let us construct a watercloset.
    Joyce, Ulysses, 7

    January 2, 2007