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

  • n. The terminal portion of the large intestine, extending from the sigmoid colon to the anal canal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The terminal part of the large intestine through which feces pass.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The terminal part of the large intestine; -- so named because supposed by the old anatomists to be straight. See Illust. under digestive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In anatomy and zoology, a terminal section of the intestine, ending in the anus: so called from its comparatively straight course in man; the lower bowel: more fully called intestinum rectum.

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

  • n. the terminal section of the alimentary canal; from the sigmoid flexure to the anus


Middle English, from Latin (intestīnum) rēctum, straight (intestine), neuter of rēctus.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From New Latin rectum, abbreviation of Latin rectum intestinum ("the straight intestine"), rectum, neuter of rectus ("straight"). See right. (Wiktionary)


Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.