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See also: foetus and Fötus


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From Latin foetus.


fœtus (plural fœtuses or fœtus or (hypercorrect) fœti)

  1. (UK, rare) Alternative form of fetus
    • 1784, Charles Elliot, A system of anatomy: from Monro, Winslow, Innes, and the latest authers:
      The progress of the fœtus appears to be much quicker in the early than latter months: but the proportional increase is attended with difficulty in the calculation; for this, among other reasons, that we have not an opportunity of knowing the magnitude or weight of the same fœtus in different months.
    • 1800, Richard Powell, Observations on the bile and its diseases,and on the oeconomy of the liver:
      The umbilical vein arises from the collected branches of the placenta, and enters the fœtus at the navel, it runs inclosed within a thick sheath, which afterwards forms the lower part of the suspensory ligament, to the horizontal fissure, where it gives off some branches on either side of the substance of the liver;
    • 1949, William George Aitchison Robertson, Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, →ISBN, page 54:
      Where the death of the fœtus has been induced with criminal intent, it may be due to puctured woulds of the fontanelles, orbits, heart, or spinal marrow; dislocation of the neck; separation of the head from the body; ffracture of the bones of the head and face; strangulation; suffocation; drowning in the closet pan or privy, or from being thrown into water.



Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Latin fētus. This spelling is originally a hypercorrection (which already arises in Latin, where foetus is also found), but is today almost the only one in use. The spelling fétus, though etymologically more correct (and thus promoted by some grammarians), is of very limited usage.


  • IPA(key): /fe.tys/
  • (disputed) IPA(key): /fø.tys/
  • (file)
  • (file)


fœtus m (plural fœtus)

  1. fetus

Derived terms[edit]

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Further reading[edit]