One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A common cavity at the end of the digestive tract for the release of both excretory and genital products in vertebrates (except most mammals) and certain invertebrates.
- ‘The bursa of Fabricius is an organ located just beside the cloaca.’
- ‘Instead, males deposit spermatophores on the substrate and females pick up these spermatophores with their cloaca later.’
- ‘Unlike we humans, the chicken has a single sexual and excretory orifice, the cloaca.’
- ‘Salamanders were measured from the tip of the snout to the anterior end of the cloaca.’
- ‘After males deposit spermatophores onto the cloaca of females, up to 150 eggs are laid on mud near water.’
2archaic A sewer.
- ‘The cloaca maxima was the sewer system built in the sixth or seventh century BC, by one of the kings of Rome.’
Late 16th century (in the sense ‘sewer’): from Latin, related to cluere ‘cleanse’. The first sense dates from the mid 19th century.
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