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

  • noun The unborn young of a viviparous vertebrate having a basic structural resemblance to the adult animal.
  • noun In humans, the unborn young from the end of the eighth week after conception to the moment of birth, as distinguished from the earlier embryo.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The young of viviparous animals in the womb, and of oviparous animals in the egg; the embryo in the later stage of development. see embryo. Also spelled fœus.

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

  • noun The young or embryo of a vertebrate animal in the womb, or in the egg; often restricted to the later stages in the development of viviparous and oviparous animals. showing the main recognizable features of the mature animal, embryo being applied to the earlier stages.

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

  • noun An unborn or unhatched vertebrate showing signs of the mature animal.
  • noun A human embryo after the 8th week of gestation.

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

  • noun an unborn or unhatched vertebrate in the later stages of development showing the main recognizable features of the mature animal


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

[Middle English, from Latin fētus, offspring; see dhē(i)- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin fētus ("offspring").


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  • *I understand not everyone thinks abortion is murder, and some people would use the term fetus and not baby, but I am just working through what Sydney Carton said in the above comment.

    Hannity grills Giuliani. Ann Althouse 2007

  • Another bill, HB 2035, would require minors to obtain parental consent before an abortion and change the term "fetus" to "unborn child."

    Kansas City Star: Front Page 2011

  • The proposed law does not clearly define the term fetus, nor does it make clear at what stage of pregnancy a prosecution could occur.

    unknown title 2009

  • It makes no sense to say that a fetus is a human person deserving of legal protection on the Rhode Island side of the border, but not on the Massachusetts side.

    Matthew Yglesias » Imagine If 2010

  • If you think a fetus is a human being then that is true whether than fetus is in Selma, Alabama (where I graduated from high school – GO SAINTS!) in Seattle or Sydney, Santiago, Salzberg, or Shanghai.

    Matthew Yglesias » Imagine If 2010

  • Ok, I'm not sorry, if you think a fetus is a baby, then you really are a moron (and a retard).

    Nelson: Health care bill 'isn't sufficient' 2009

  • And in many late term cases, the fetus is already dead or not viable. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Matthew Yglesias » Too Hot for CBS 2010

  • Even if you disagree that a fetus is a human life that early, can you not at least be civil and respect that as our position?

    Bishop bars Patrick Kennedy from communion over abortion 2009

  • Due to abortion being such a scared cow and the denial that a fetus is anything but a parasitic clump of cells, so much actual scientific reality if obscured.

    ProWomanProLife » What a nightmare 2010

  • Because the fetus is the one to initially infringe on the most fundamental right of all, the right to bodily integrity.

    ProWomanProLife » A chivalrous defence–that’s me defending him 2009


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