Medical Definition of Fart

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Fart: This is not an accepted medical word for passing gas. Excess gas in the intestinal is medically termed "flatulence." (But what is excess gas is difficult to define since symptom-free individuals have recorded approximately 14 passages of gas per 24 hours!)

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), in its inimitable way, notes that the word "fart" is "not in decent use." The OED defines the transitive verb form of fart: "To send forth as wind from the anus 1632." The word comes from the Old English "feortan" (meaning "to break wind"). Although the word "fart" is "not in decent use," it was used by the likes of the great English poet Geoffrey Chaucer.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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