Definition of dorsal in English:


Pronunciation /ˈdôrsəl/ /ˈdɔrsəl/

See synonyms for dorsal on

Translate dorsal into Spanish


Anatomy Zoology Botany
  • Of, on, or relating to the upper side or back of an animal, plant, or organ.

    Compare with ventral

    ‘a dorsal view of the body’
    • ‘the dorsal aorta’
    • ‘Just outside each vertebra, the dorsal and ventral roots unite to form a spinal nerve on each side.’
    • ‘Such a wasp held the fly with the middle and hind legs head forward and ventral or dorsal side up.’
    • ‘If either of these proteins is absent, then the motor axons select dorsal and ventral pathways randomly.’
    • ‘The waves continue coupled to a series of dorsal and ventral flexions of the whole body.’
    • ‘At approximately the seventh week of gestation, the ventral and dorsal buds fuse.’
    rear, hind, back, hinder, rearward


Late Middle English from late Latin dorsalis, from Latin dorsum ‘back’.