Definition of pituitary in English:

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Pronunciation: /pəˈt(y)o͞oəˌterē/

noun (plural pituitaries)

(in full pituitary gland or pituitary body)
The major endocrine gland. A pea-sized body attached to the base of the brain, the pituitary is important in controlling growth and development and the functioning of the other endocrine glands. Also called hypophysis.
Example sentences
  • This hormone stimulates the pituitary, another endocrine gland near the brain, to secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone.
  • Tadpole pituitaries secrete thyroid-stimulating hormone in response to CRH.
  • The pituitary is a pea-sized gland situated near the base of the skull.


Relating to the pituitary gland.
Example sentences
  • Common nervous system manifestations include facial palsies, and hypothalamic and pituitary lesions.
  • The cytologic and architectural features of these tumors are reminiscent of those of the normal posterior pituitary lobe.
  • The basisphenoid bears a deep, central depression at this point called the sella turcica or pituitary fossa.


Early 17th century: from Latin pituitarius 'secreting phlegm', from pituita 'phlegm'.

  • pip from late 18th century:

    The name for the small hard seed in a fruit is a shortening of pippin, an apple grown from seed. English adopted the word from French, but its ultimate origin is unknown. The British politician Sir Eric Geddes was the first to use the expression squeeze until the pips squeak, ‘to extract the maximum amount of money from’, in a 1918 speech about the compensation to be paid by Germany after the First World War: ‘The Germans…are going to pay every penny; they are going to be squeezed as a lemon is squeezed…until the pips squeak.’ Another pip is an unpleasant disease of chickens and other birds which is documented as far back as medieval times. From the late 15th century various human diseases and ailments also came to be called the pip, though the precise symptoms are rarely specified: today's equivalent would probably be the dreaded lurgy ( see lurgy). Whatever the nature of the disease, the sufferer would probably be in a foul mood, hence the pip became ‘bad temper’ and to give someone the pip was to irritate or depress them. The name came from medieval Dutch pippe, which was probably based on Latin pituita ‘slime, phlegm’, found also in pituitary gland (early 17th century).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pi·tu·i·tar·y

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