noun

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

    • ‘Can you feel the breath radiating life energy from your navel into your arms, legs and head?’
    • ‘Soo Lin's shirt was tight and small and showed her bare navel, which had the ring in it.’
    • ‘Pain below the navel that spreads to either side may signify a colon disorder.’
    • ‘Her slender waist was now bare exposing the deep navel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Symptoms include a gnawing or burning sensation in the abdomen between the navel and the sternum.’
    • ‘A jewel sparkled from her pierced navel and her jeans rode low on her hips.’
    • ‘An umbilical hernia occurs when part of the intestine protrudes through a weakness in the abdominal wall at the navel.’
    • ‘Exhale as you contract your abdominal muscles, pulling your navel toward your spine.’
    • ‘Her size two trousers hang about her hips, exposing a navel ring.’
    • ‘Claude smiled lazily and stretched, showing off her tiny ruby navel ring.’
    • ‘The dead man has a Batman tattoo and a pierced navel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She has already pierced her nose, her ears, her navel and now, her tongue.’
    • ‘Abdominal examination revealed a large scar from the navel downwards.’
    • ‘If the patient wears a navel ring, she is asked to remove it.’
    • ‘For two years I had occasional pain in the abdomen especially around the navel for short durations.’
    • ‘Tighten your abs by pulling your navel toward your spine and lean to the right.’
    belly button, tummy button
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    1. 1.1 The central point of a place:
      ‘the Incas saw Cuzco as the navel of the world’
      • ‘They named the place Cuzco, " the navel of the world, " and the Inca nation was born.’
      • ‘Delphi was no longer the navel of the Greek world, acknowledged point of reference for the competing states.’
      • ‘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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Phrases

  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When I was growing up, my mother used to say, ‘You have to take time to contemplate your navel.’’
      • ‘He came from High Times magazine, where he sat around and played video games and contemplated his navel.’
      • ‘I dreamt of spending days lounging in the sun and contemplating my navel.’
      • ‘Of course, this sort of hindsight is only slightly worse than spending your time contemplating your navel.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘Self-consciousness is not simply a consciousness contemplating its own navel.’

Origin

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.

Pronunciation

navel

/ˈneɪv(ə)l/