Definition of stomach in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈstʌmək/


1The internal organ in which the major part of the digestion of food occurs, being (in humans and many mammals) a pear-shaped enlargement of the alimentary canal linking the oesophagus to the small intestine: [as modifier]: severe stomach pains
More example sentences
  • For most other common solid tumours such as those of lung, oesophagus, stomach, or pancreas, only limited survival gains have been achieved.
  • Smooth cells make up the stomach, intestine, blood vessels and other organs.
  • The idea was that fibre fills the stomach and reduces the desire to overeat.
abdomen, belly, gut, middle
informal tummy, tum, breadbasket, insides
Australian informal bingy
1.1Each of four stomachs in a ruminant (the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum).
Example sentences
  • He was interested in improving digestive processes within the rumen, the first of the four stomachs of ruminant animals, where cellulose is broken down by bacteria.
  • More advanced artiodactyls, the ruminants, have evolved complex stomachs with three or four chambers.
  • To a small extent, this can also happen in the stomachs of ruminant animals, such as cows and sheep, but without the same detrimental effect as the man-made variety.
1.2Any of a number of organs analogous to the stomach in lower animals.
Example sentences
  • Material remaining in the stomach can include food, mucus, or hair.
  • Like pangolins, aardvarks have a long, protrusile tongue and a gizzard-like stomach.
  • In these studies, stomachs from 4th instar A. aegypti larvae were examined using both transmission and scanning electron microscopy.
1.3The front part of the body between the chest and thighs; the belly: Blake hit him in the stomach
More example sentences
  • My favourite part of a guy's body is his stomach and then his chest.
  • He stood in front of me, looking down at his stomach and chest.
  • Furtive glances dissect her at thighs, hips, stomach, chest and face.
paunch, pot belly, beer belly, girth
informal beer gut, pot, tummy, spare tyre, middle-aged spread
Scottish informal kyte
North American informal bay window
dated, humorous corporation
1.4 [in singular] The stomach viewed as the seat of hunger, nausea, anxiety, or other unsettling feelings: Virginia had a sick feeling in her stomach
More example sentences
  • I paced restlessly around my small cell, stomach twisting with anxiety, and hunger.
  • My stomach tightened, and I thought of leaving him outside, but he'd already seen me peering at him through the window.
  • Her stomach tightened when she reached over to brush some hair from the other girl's face and saw that those blue eyes were clouded over.
2 [in singular, usually with negative] An appetite for food or drink: she doesn’t have the stomach to eat anything
More example sentences
  • I hadn't had the stomach to finish my food after all I had learned that evening.
  • Vera and Charlie were served dinner on board the jet, but Charlie didn't have the stomach to eat.
  • He was now alone, the smell of fried eggs and bacon still strong in the room, but he had not the stomach to eat.
2.1A desire or inclination for something involving conflict or difficulty: the teams proved to have no stomach for a fight
More example sentences
  • The AFL-CIO is quietly packing up its local support operation, sensing that SAG has no stomach for a real fight.
  • But behind the scenes there is no stomach for a fight.
  • If he continually bemoaned such circumstances he would find himself out of tune with his own support, who have no stomach for even genuine excuses.


[with object] (usually cannot stomach)
1Consume (food or drink) without feeling or being sick: if you cannot stomach orange juice, try apple juice
More example sentences
  • Just days after her birth, Stacey was diagnosed with the disease when doctors found a tube in her intestine was blocked and she could not stomach any food.
  • While he could actually stomach the food, I couldn't and choose a banana and water.
  • All my meals were on the set, when I could actually stomach food.
digest, keep down, find palatable, manage to eat/consume, swallow
1.1Endure or accept (an obnoxious thing or person): I can’t stomach the self-righteous attitude of some managers
More example sentences
  • From soundings I've taken inside the Labour Party, people cannot stomach a war and some are going to leave the party.
  • Ideologies that affirm a set of basic truths, such as feminism and classical or neo-Marxism, cannot stomach postmodernism.
  • Howard's government ‘cannot stomach the truth of their policy failings’.
tolerate, put up with, take, stand, endure, accept, swallow, bear, support, brook, submit to, countenance;
Scottish  thole
informal stick, hack, abide
British informal wear, be doing with
archaic suffer



an army marches on its stomach

A group of soldiers or workers can only fight or function effectively if they have been well fed.
Translating French c'est la soupe qui fait le soldat, a maxim of Napoleon
Example sentences
  • Napoleon recognised that an army marches on its stomach but, today, a more pertinent question for all farmers and tax payers is: ‘Should British soldiers be stuffing themselves with foreign meat in their rations?’
  • If an army marches on its stomach, software product development at every large corporation marches on the Zee cabinet.
  • Emperor Napoleon had said an army marches on its stomach.

on a full (or an empty) stomach

After having eaten (or having not eaten): I always think better on a full stomach
More example sentences
  • The dose must be administered in the morning on an empty stomach with a full glass of water.
  • I picked up my silverware, knowing full well that every great expeditioning dilemma is best contemplated on a full stomach.
  • On the subject of when is the best time to exercise, Chris feels that for cardio work, the best time is in the morning on an empty stomach, if your intention is to burn body fat.

a strong stomach

An ability to see or do unpleasant things without feeling sick or squeamish: be warned, you’ll need a strong stomach
More example sentences
  • Her room was painted dingy brown that could make even a strong stomach sick.
  • You'll need a strong stomach to read about her experience of childbirth on page 6, but it's powerful stuff and if the magazine's honorary girl can handle it, so can you.
  • But for the benefit of those of us lacking such a strong stomach, the recipes in her book, Ant Egg Soup, make use of more familiar foods such as aubergine, dill and mint, also grown in abundance in Laos.



Pronunciation: /ˈstʌməkfʊl/
noun (plural stomachfuls)
Example sentences
  • Because they consume so much more plant matter per stomachful of food on the dry diet of summer and fall than they do on the wet spring diet, the tortoises can store more energy than they burn.
  • The ants are attracted to the sweet gel and can take a stomachful of poison back to their mound.
  • We've already mentioned penniless banana growers and people who don't want a stomachful of growth hormones.




Middle English: from Old French estomac, stomaque, via Latin from Greek stomakhos 'gullet', from stoma 'mouth'. The early sense of the verb was 'be offended at, resent' (early 16th century).

  • The ultimate source of our word stomach is Greek stomakhos ‘gullet’, from stoma ‘mouth’, source of the anatomical term (late 17th century). A common saying is the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. The earliest expression of these sentiments is by John Adams, the second American president, in a letter he wrote in 1814: ‘The shortest road to men's hearts is down their throats’. See also nation

Words that rhyme with stomach

hummock, slummock

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: stom|ach

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