Medical Definition of Anlage

Anlage: 1. In biology, whatever precedes something else. 2. In embryology, a precursor or forerunner or a more mature structure. For example, the stomach anlage. 3. In psychoanalysis, a predisposition to a given trait or personality characteristic.

Borrowed directly from the German for a plan or arrangement, derived from the verb anlegen meaning "to lay on" in the sense of "to prepare or set up." The plural is anlagen. Sometimes anlage is used interchangeably with primordium.

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Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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