Definition of rectum in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrektəm/

noun (plural rectums or recta /-tə/)

The final section of the large intestine, terminating at the anus.
Example sentences
  • Cancer of the rectum may involve removing the whole rectum and anus.
  • This infection can affect the genitals, anus, rectum and throat, and can affect both men and women.
  • Besides providing support, these muscles control the action of the rectum and anus.


Mid 16th century: from Latin rectum (intestinum) 'straight (intestine)'.

  • rectangle from late 16th century:

    A rectangle is a shape made up of four right angles, and both English and the Latin source of the word use the same image, for rectangle comes from rectus ‘right, straight’ combined with angulus ‘angle’, also found in angle itself. Rectus is the source of a number of words in English including direct (Late Middle English) ‘in a straight line’, rectify (Late Middle English) ‘put right’, rectitude (Late Middle English) ‘straightness’, and rectum (mid 16th century) from the Latin rectum intestinum ‘straight intestine’

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: rec·tum

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