Definitions

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

  • adjective Anatomy Of, toward, on, in, or near the back or upper surface of an organ, part, or organism.
  • adjective Botany Of or on the surface of an organ or part facing away from the axis; abaxial.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In phonology, pronounced with the back or middle upper surface of the tongue raised to the palate.
  • In botany, relating to the back of an organ. See back, 3 (A).
  • In anatomy: Of or pertaining to the back: as, the dorsal fin of a fish; dorsal muscles, nerves, etc.
  • Of or pertaining to the back of a part or organ: as, the dorsal aspect of the hand; the dorsal surface of the breast-bone; the dorsal artery of the penis.
  • In entomology, pertaining to the upper surface of the thorax or abdomen.
  • noun In ichthyology, a dorsal fin.
  • noun In anatomy, a dorsal vertebra.
  • noun Eccles. See the extract.

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

  • noun (Fine Arts) A hanging, usually of rich stuff, at the back of a throne, or of an altar, or in any similar position.
  • adjective (Anat.) Pertaining to, or situated near, the back, or dorsum, of an animal or of one of its parts; notal; tergal; neural; ; -- opposed to ventral.
  • adjective Pertaining to the surface naturally inferior, as of a leaf.
  • adjective Pertaining to the surface naturally superior, as of a creeping hepatic moss.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) a central pulsating blood vessel along the back of insects, acting as a heart.

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

  • adjective anatomy With respect to, or concerning the side in which the backbone is located, or the analogous side of an invertebrate.
  • adjective of a knife Having only one sharp side.
  • adjective anatomy The top surface of foot and/or hand.
  • noun art A hanging, usually of rich stuff, at the back of a throne, altar, etc.

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

  • adjective belonging to or on or near the back or upper surface of an animal or organ or part
  • adjective facing away from the axis of an organ or organism

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Medieval Latin dorsālis, from Latin dorsuālis, from dorsum, back.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin dorsālis ("of or relating to the back").

Examples

  • They are shockingly gracile and incredibly long-bodied, with a shape that (when seen in dorsal view) has been likened to that of a champagne flute.

    A 6 ton model, and a baby that puts on 90 kg a day: rorquals part I

  • They are shockingly gracile and incredibly long-bodied, with a shape that (when seen in dorsal view) has been likened to that of a champagne flute.

    Archive 2006-10-01

  • The scientists discovered that a critical mental control area, called the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, worked much harder and, perhaps, less efficiently among children with attention problems.

    Scientists Probe Role of Brain in ADHD Cases

  • A technique called flavoprotein autofluorescence was used to image a part of their brain called the dorsal cochlear nucleus DCN, which is associated with tinnitus.

    Finding the Pathways to a Cause of Tinnitus

  • I think you mistakenly called the dorsal stream the what pathway - it is the where pathway a typo, I'm sure.

    The Two-Streams Hypothesis

  • Above the gills, it is collected by six more pairs of blood vessels into another big vessel running down the middle, called the dorsal aorta, which feeds the rest of the body.

    THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH

  • Every segment of the vertebral column has two big nerves sprouting from the spinal cord on either side, called the dorsal root and the ventral root.

    THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH

  • Above the gills, it is collected by six more pairs of blood vessels into another big vessel running down the middle, called the dorsal aorta, which feeds the rest of the body.

    THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH

  • Every segment of the vertebral column has two big nerves sprouting from the spinal cord on either side, called the dorsal root and the ventral root.

    THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH

  • When they encounter a stimulus, such as a pinprick, they send a message through trunk cables to a part of the spinal cord called the dorsal horn.

    USATODAY.com - Chronic pain: The enemy within

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