Medical Definition of Belly

  • 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.

Belly: That part of the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and the pelvis. Also called the abdomen.

The belly (or abdomen) is separated anatomically from the chest by the diaphragm, the powerful muscle spanning the body cavity below the lungs.

The belly contains a host of organs including the stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, appendix, gallbladder, and bladder.

The word "abdomen" has a curious story behind it. It comes from the Latin "abdodere", to hide. The idea was that whatever was eaten was hidden in the abdomen.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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