from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The serous membrane that lines the walls of the abdominal cavity and folds inward to enclose the viscera.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. In mammals, the serous membrane lining the cavity of the abdomen and that is folded over the viscera.
- n. In animals, the membrane lining the coelom cavity.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The smooth serous membrane which lines the cavity of the abdomen, or the whole body cavity when there is no diaphragm, and, turning back, surrounds the viscera, forming a closed, or nearly closed, sac.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The membrane lining the abdominal cavity and investing its viscera.
- n. In brachiopods, an investment of the alimentary canal, by which the latter is suspended in the perivisceral cavity as by a mesentery.
- n. In entomology, the outer coat of the digestive tube of an insect.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a transparent membrane that lines the abdominal cavity in mammals and covers most of the viscera
Middle English, from Late Latin peritonaeum, from Greek peritonaion, from peritonaios, stretched across, from peritonos, stretched around : peri-, peri- + teinein, to stretch; see ten- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek περί- (peri, "around") + τόνος (tonos, "stretch") + -αιος (-aios, "suffix to form an adjective"). (Wiktionary)