AskDefine | Define viscera

Dictionary Definition

viscera n : internal organs collectively (especially those in the abdominal cavity); "`viscera' is the plural form of `viscus'" [syn: entrails, innards]

User Contributed Dictionary



viscera (plural of viscus)
  1. Collectively, the internal organs of the body, especially those contained within the abdominal and thoracic cavities, such as the liver, heart, or stomach.
  2. The intestines.

Derived terms


internal organs of the body

Extensive Definition

In anatomy, a viscus () (plural: viscera /ˈvɪsərə/) is an internal organ of an animal (including humans), in particular an internal organ of the thorax or abdomen. The viscera, when removed from a butchered animal, are known collectively as offal. Internal organs are also known as "innards", or less formally, "guts" (which may also refer to the gastrointestinal tract).
The adjective visceral is used for anything pertaining to the internal organs. Historically, viscera of animals were examined by Roman pagan priests like the haruspices or the augurs in order to divine the future by their shape, dimensions or other factors.


The viscera are mainly innervated parasympathetically by the vagus nerve and sympathetically by the splanchnic nerves. The sensory part of the latter reaches the spinal column at certain spinal segments. Pain in any viscera is perceived as referred pain, more specifically pain from the dermatome (anatomy) corresponding to the spinal segment.
viscera in Arabic: حشا
viscera in German: Eingeweide
viscera in Spanish: Víscera
viscera in Esperanto: Viscero
viscera in French: Viscère
viscera in Hebrew: קרביים
viscera in Polish: Trzewia
viscera in Finnish: sisäelimet

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abdomen, anus, appendix, being, blind gut, bones, bosom, bowels, brain, breast, cecum, colon, duodenum, endocardium, entrails, esprit, foregut, giblets, gizzard, guts, heart, heart of hearts, heartstrings, hindgut, inmost heart, inmost soul, innards, inner mechanism, innermost being, insides, internals, intestine, inwards, jejunum, kidney, kishkes, large intestine, liver, liver and lights, lung, midgut, perineum, pump, pylorus, rectum, secret places, small intestine, soul, spirit, spleen, stomach, stuffing, ticker, tripes, vermiform appendix, vitals, works
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