Definition of melaena in English:


(also melena)


  • [mass noun] The production of dark sticky faeces containing partly digested blood, as a result of internal bleeding or the swallowing of blood.

    • ‘At external examination, blood smears on the body surface resulting from hematemesis or melena were present in 40 cases.’
    • ‘Mr A's past medical history is significant for gastrointestinal bleeding, although, currently, he denies nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, or melena.’
    • ‘It is normal to lose 0.5 to 1.5 ml of blood daily in the gastrointestinal tract, and melena usually is identified when more than 150 ml of blood are lost in the upper gastrointestinal tract.’
    • ‘One patient developed melena the day after admission, but no other bleeding was observed.’
    • ‘Unless colon cancer has metastasized to the liver, symptoms tend to be one or more of the following: hematochezia, melena, anemia resulting from occult blood loss and change in bowel habits.’


Early 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek melaina, feminine of melas black.