Definition of enteral in English:



  • Involving or passing through the intestine, either naturally via the mouth and oesophagus, or through an artificial opening.

    Often contrasted with parenteral
    • ‘Commonly, these infants need supplemental oxygen treatment for mild respiratory distress syndrome or parenteral nutrition until enteral feeds are established.’
    • ‘If surgery cannot safely be postponed, parenteral or enteral hyperalimentation should be started.’
    • ‘Forty patients will be randomly assigned to either standard enteral nutrition or standard enteral nutrition containing a probiotic.’
    • ‘This may range from nil by mouth with total enteral support to full oral route or a balance of the two.’
    • ‘However, enteral feeding is withheld during monitoring with gastric tonometry because enteral feeding is thought to influence tonometric measurements.’


Early 20th century: from Greek enteron intestine + -al, partly as a back-formation from parenteral.