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(1) (anatomy) Of, toward, in, on, or near the back (or any analogous bodily reference) of an organism.

(2) (zoology) Of, or pertaining to, the dorsum.

(3) (botany) Of or on the surface away from the axis; abaxial.


Dorsal is an anatomical term used to refer to the position of a body part in an organism (plant or animal). It is used in contrast to the term ventral.

In vertebrates, the dorsal part of the animal usually is where the backbone is located.

Word origin: from Latin dorsālis, dorsum, back

Related forms: dorsally (adverb)

Compare: ventral

See also: dorsad

Related term:

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