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

  • n. Any of several folds of the peritoneum that connect the intestines to the dorsal abdominal wall, especially such a fold that envelops the jejunum and ileum.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The membrane that attaches the intestines to the wall of the abdomen, maintaining their position in the abdominal cavity, and supplying them with blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatics.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The membranes, or one of the membranes (consisting of a fold of the peritoneum and inclosed tissues), which connect the intestines and their appendages with the dorsal wall of the abdominal cavity. The mesentery proper is connected with the jejunum and ilium, the other mesenteries being called mesocæcum, mesocolon, mesorectum, etc.
  • n. One of the vertical muscular radiating partitions which divide the body cavity of Anthozoa into chambers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In anatomy, a fold or duplicature of peritoneum investing the intestine or other abdominal viscus wholly or in part, and serving to retain such viscus in its proper position in the abdominal cavity.
  • n. In zoology, some structure like a mesentery; a perivisceral or mesenteric septum.

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

  • n. a double layer of peritoneum that attaches to the back wall of the abdominal cavity and supports the small intestines


Middle English mesenterie, from Medieval Latin mesenterium, from Greek mesenterion : meso-, meso- + enterion, diminutive of enteron, entrails; see en in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek μέσος (mesos, "middle") + ἔντερον (enteron, "gut") (Wiktionary)


  • The so-called mesentery is also a membrane; and extends continuously from the long stretch of intestine to the great vessel and the aorta.

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  • The mesentery is a delicate, narrow membrane about twenty feet long.

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  • The mesentery is a membrane beginning loosely on the loins, and thence extending to all the intestines; which it preserves from twisting by their peristaltic motion.

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  • The whole of the gut is attached to the body by a suspensory mechanism called the mesentery, which connects the 20m or so of gut loops to the underside of the spinal column within the abdomen over a length of a few centimetres.

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  • What couldn't be stopped was the ooze from the man's belly where the ripping tushes had laid open skin, muscles, mesentery, and gut alike.

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  • Five pieces of colon, and mesentery the lining of the inner abdomen.

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  • I, and indeed others, have sometimes found valves in the emulgent veins, and in those of the mesentery, the edges of which were directed towards the vena cava and vena portae.

    On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals

  • Perhaps it will not, therefore, be found unreasonable, if we say that the veins, by means of their orifices, absorb some of the things that are applied externally and carry this inwards with the blood, not otherwise, it may be, than those of the mesentery imbibe the chyle from the intestines and carry it mixed with the blood to the liver.

    On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals

  • Again, other veins branch off from the big vein; one to the omentum, and another to the pancreas, from which vein run a number of veins through the mesentery.

    The History of Animals

  • The mesentery is over the bowels; this also is membranous and broad, and turns to fat.

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  • "What couldn't be stopped was the ooze from the man's belly, where the ripping tushes had laid open skin, muscles, mesentery, and gut alike. There were no large vessels severed there, but the intestine was punctured...."
    —Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (NY: Delacorte Press, 1991), 195

    January 2, 2010