from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An enema.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An enema; an injection.
  • To administer a rectal injection: same as clysterize.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Med.) A liquid injected into the lower intestines by means of a syringe; an injection; an enema.
  • noun a tube or pipe used for injections.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A medicine applied via the rectum; an enema or suppository

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

  • noun an injection of a liquid through the anus to stimulate evacuation; sometimes used for diagnostic purposes


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

[Middle English clister, from Old French clistere, from Latin clyster, from Greek klustēr, clyster pipe, from kluzein, to wash out.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French clystere, or its source, Latin clyster, from Ancient Greek κλυστήρ.


  • Curious to say the clyster is almost unknown to the people of Hindostan although the barbarous West Africans use it daily to “wash ‘um belly,” as the Bonney-men say.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • On the second day all the symptoms were exacerbated; late in the evening had a proper stool from a small clyster; the night quiet.

    Of The Epidemics

  • To a person in such a state give to drink water and as much boiled hydromel of a watery consistence as he will take; and if the mouth be bitter, it may be advantageous to administer an emetic and clyster; and if these things do not loosen the bowels, purge with the boiled milk of asses.

    On Regimen In Acute Diseases

  • When the flatus is offensive, either a suppository or clyster is to be administered; but otherwise the oxymel is to be discontinued, until the matters descend to the lower part of the bowels, and then they are to be evacuated by a clyster.

    On Regimen In Acute Diseases

  • But if the bowels appear to be constipated, administer a soothing clyster.

    On Regimen In Acute Diseases

  • Walter Bruel would have a practitioner begin first with a clyster of his, which he prescribes before bloodletting: the common sort, as Mercurialis, Montaltus cap.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Put a pair of bellows end into a clyster pipe, and applying it into the fundament, open the bowels, so draw forth the wind, natura non admittit vacuum.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • On the sixth, in the morning, in a quiet state; in the evening the pains greater; had a paroxysm; in the evening the bowels properly opened by a small clyster; slept at night.

    Of The Epidemics

  • For without question, a clyster opportunely used, cannot choose in this, as most other maladies, but to do very much good; Clysteres nutriunt, sometimes clysters nourish, as they may be prepared, as I was informed not long since by a learned lecture of our natural philosophy [4278] reader, which he handled by way of discourse, out of some other noted physicians.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • On the sixteenth, looseness of the bowels from a stimulant clyster; afterwards she passed her drink, nor could retain anything, for she was completely insensible; skin parched and tense.

    Of The Epidemics


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  • 1. A medicine injected into the rectum, to empty or cleanse the bowels, to afford nutrition, etc.; an injection, enema; sometimes, a suppository; an old term for enema.

    2. The pipe or syringe used in injection; a clyster-pipe.

    3. A contemptuous name for a medical practitioner.

    July 10, 2008

  • I love definition 3 best of all.

    July 10, 2008

  • 0_o

    September 11, 2008

  • *guffaw*

    September 11, 2008

  • Bears!

    September 11, 2008

  • Bilbies!


    September 11, 2008

  • Encountered this word in Dan Simmons' novel Drood

    June 27, 2009

  • Encountered this while reading The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon.

    September 10, 2009

  • See tappen.

    March 1, 2011

  • Historical note can be found in comment on unguent.

    November 28, 2017