• 1A rounded knotty depression in the centre of a person's belly caused by the detachment of the umbilical cord after birth; the umbilicus.

    • ‘The dead man has a Batman tattoo and a pierced navel.’
    • ‘Abdominal examination revealed a large scar from the navel downwards.’
    • ‘Her size two trousers hang about her hips, exposing a navel ring.’
    • ‘She has already pierced her nose, her ears, her navel and now, her tongue.’
    • ‘Tighten your abs by pulling your navel toward your spine and lean to the right.’
    • ‘For two years I had occasional pain in the abdomen especially around the navel for short durations.’
    • ‘She also had her navel pierced but she didn't show it off so much.’
    • ‘The child may have low back pain, stomach pain below the navel, or a long-lasting fever.’
    • ‘Put the palm of your right hand on the abdomen, just above the navel, and press up against the solar plexus or pit of the stomach.’
    • ‘An umbilical hernia occurs when part of the intestine protrudes through a weakness in the abdominal wall at the navel.’
    • ‘Pain below the navel that spreads to either side may signify a colon disorder.’
    • ‘If the patient wears a navel ring, she is asked to remove it.’
    • ‘Exhale as you contract your abdominal muscles, pulling your navel toward your spine.’
    • ‘Can you feel the breath radiating life energy from your navel into your arms, legs and head?’
    • ‘Her slender waist was now bare exposing the deep navel.’
    • ‘Claude smiled lazily and stretched, showing off her tiny ruby navel ring.’
    • ‘Symptoms include a gnawing or burning sensation in the abdomen between the navel and the sternum.’
    • ‘Soo Lin's shirt was tight and small and showed her bare navel, which had the ring in it.’
    • ‘A jewel sparkled from her pierced navel and her jeans rode low on her hips.’
    belly button, tummy button
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    1. 1.1The central point of a place.
      ‘the Incas saw Cuzco as the navel of the world’
      • ‘Delphi was no longer the navel of the Greek world, acknowledged point of reference for the competing states.’
      • ‘They named the place Cuzco, " the navel of the world, " and the Inca nation was born.’
      • ‘Such men must be honoured and respected, lest chaos engulf the navel of the world yet again.’
      centre, central point, middle, midpoint, hub, nub, focal point, focus, pivot, nucleus, heart, core, eye
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  • contemplate one's navel

    • Spend time complacently considering oneself or one's interests at the expense of a wider view.

      ‘the Post Office cannot stop the world while the unions contemplate their navels’
      • ‘Self-consciousness is not simply a consciousness contemplating its own navel.’
      • ‘He came from High Times magazine, where he sat around and played video games and contemplated his navel.’
      • ‘Of course, this sort of hindsight is only slightly worse than spending your time contemplating your navel.’
      • ‘I dreamt of spending days lounging in the sun and contemplating my navel.’
      • ‘The yogi contemplating his navel often figures for Westerners as an object of amusement, being taken as a symptom of indolence or narcissistic self-absorption.’
      • ‘This is a famous soup from the Fujian Province, whose aroma was said to be so alluring that a meditating monk would abandon contemplating his navel and jump over the wall to indulge!’
      • ‘When I was growing up, my mother used to say, ‘You have to take time to contemplate your navel.’’


Old English nafela, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch navel and German Nabel, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin umbo boss of a shield, umbilicus navel, and Greek omphalos boss, navel. Compare with nave.