From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Kidney


English Wikipedia has an article on:
Diagram of a human kidney with major structures labeled.
1. renal pyramid • 2. interlobular artery • 3. renal artery • 4. renal vein 5. renal hilum • 6. renal pelvis • 7. ureter • 8. minor calyx • 9. renal capsule • 10. inferior renal capsule • 11. superior renal capsule • 12. interlobular vein • 13. nephron • 14. renal sinus • 15. major calyx • 16. renal papilla • 17. renal column


From Middle English kednei, kidenei, from earlier kidnēre, kidenēre (kidney), of obscure origin and formation. Probably a compound consisting of Middle English *kid, *quid (belly, womb), from Old English cwiþ, cwiþa (belly, womb, stomach) + Middle English nēre (kidney), from Old English *nēora (kidney), from Proto-West Germanic *neurō, from Proto-Germanic *neurô (kidney), from Proto-Indo-European *negʷʰr- (kidney). If so, then related to Scots nere, neir (kidney), Saterland Frisian Njuure (kidney), Dutch nier (kidney), German Niere (kidney), Danish nyre (kidney), Norwegian nyre (kidney), Swedish njure (kidney), Ancient Greek νεφρός (nephrós).

Alternate etymology traces the first element to Old English cēod, codd (sack, scrotum), from Proto-Germanic *keudō (sack) as the terms for testicle and kidney were often interchangeable in Germanic (compare Old High German nioro (kidney", also "testicle), Old Swedish vig-niauri (testicle). More at codpiece.


  • (UK, Canada) IPA(key): /ˈkɪdni/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪdni


kidney (plural kidneys)

  1. An organ in the body that filters the blood, producing urine.
    • 2013 June 1, “A better waterworks”, in The Economist[1], volume 407, number 8838, page 5 (Technology Quarterly):
      An artificial kidney these days still means a refrigerator-sized dialysis machine. Such devices mimic the way real kidneys cleanse blood and eject impurities and surplus water as urine.
  2. This organ (of an animal) cooked as food.
  3. (figuratively, dated) Constitution, temperament, nature, type, character, disposition. (usually used of people)
  4. (obsolete, slang) A waiter.
    • 1709, Richard Steele, The Tatler[3], volume 1:
      I once more desire my readers to consider that as I cannot keep an ingenious man to go daily to Will's under twopence each day merely for his charges, to White's under sixpence, nor to the Grecian without allowing him some plain Spanish, to be as able as others at the learned table; and that a good observer cannot speak with even Kidney at St. James's without clean linen; []



Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]