Definition of stomach in English:



  • 1The internal organ in which the major part of the digestion of food occurs, being (in humans and many mammals) a pear-shaped enlargement of the alimentary canal linking the oesophagus to the small intestine.

    as modifier ‘severe stomach pains’
    • ‘Smooth cells make up the stomach, intestine, blood vessels and other organs.’
    • ‘She added that high-fiber food can extend the presence of food in the stomach so the sensation of being full will remain for longer.’
    • ‘A very full stomach is uncomfortable - food stays in the stomach for two to three hours, then continues to have an effect further down the gut.’
    • ‘Digestion begins in the mouth, well before food reaches the stomach.’
    • ‘It takes a certain time to digest, so it increases the time that food remains in the stomach, giving a feeling of comfortable satiety.’
    • ‘Researchers believe that water in food empties from the stomach more slowly than water you drink, making you feel full longer.’
    • ‘The biotech company intends to turn the substances into therapeutic food products to treat stomach disorders.’
    • ‘The idea was that fibre fills the stomach and reduces the desire to overeat.’
    • ‘Food in the stomach does not appear to alter the kinetics or behavioral effects of the medication.’
    • ‘This is usually due to the accumulation of food in the stomach and intestines.’
    • ‘Gastroplasty alone can cause vomiting when even tiny amounts of food stretch the stapled stomach.’
    • ‘If the muscular valve above the stomach leaks, food mixed with acid washes back, or refluxes, into the esophagus.’
    • ‘For most other common solid tumours such as those of lung, oesophagus, stomach, or pancreas, only limited survival gains have been achieved.’
    • ‘Smoking is the most important cause, though a fondness for salt is another disturbing trend that irritates the stomach.’
    • ‘It may react with chemicals in food or in the stomach to form tiny amounts of cancer-causing nitrosamines.’
    • ‘Some low GI foods are high in fat, as fat slows the emptying of food from the stomach.’
    • ‘The movement of gastric juices into the food pipe from the stomach is called reflux.’
    • ‘Have some solid food in your stomach before drinking.’
    • ‘The Chinese believe that the rice will settle the stomach after eating.’
    • ‘These help prevent return of food from the stomach to the mouth.’
    abdomen, belly, gut, middle
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    1. 1.1 Each of four stomachs in a ruminant (the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum).
      • ‘The stomach of an adult moose can hold 112 pounds of food.’
      • ‘Detection of ergot alkaloids in stomach or rumen content is evidence of exposure.’
      • ‘Both syphilis and Lyme disease are caused by these bacteria, and other species are important symbionts in the stomachs of cows and other ruminants.’
      • ‘Because cows are ruminants and ruminants have several stomachs.’
      • ‘When calves are fed milk it is funnelled through the oesophageal groove to the true stomach by-passing the rumen.’
      • ‘More advanced artiodactyls, the ruminants, have evolved complex stomachs with three or four chambers.’
      • ‘Like they hadn't noticed that even a calf, which has four stomachs, stops drinking milk after about eight weeks.’
      • ‘The most familiar sources of methane are bacteria that live in bogs, lakes and the stomachs of ruminants like cows.’
      • ‘The abomasum, known as the true stomach, normally lies on the floor of the abdomen, but can become filled with gas and rise to the top of the abdomen and become displaced.’
      • ‘They hardly chew their food when first eaten, but swallow it into a special stomach where the food is partially digested.’
      • ‘He dumped 33 cattle stomachs on the side of the road, earning him a court appearance and press coverage.’
      • ‘He was interested in improving digestive processes within the rumen, the first of the four stomachs of ruminant animals, where cellulose is broken down by bacteria.’
      • ‘Animals which do this include cows, sheep and goats, and they all have four stomachs.’
      • ‘Newbold's group at the Institute of Rural Sciences in Wales has worked to produce organic acids to prevent methane buildup in cow stomachs.’
      • ‘The cow needs a balance of physical ingredients in her rumen to get her to ruminate, to slow down the flow of food through the stomach and develop rumen wall muscle tone.’
      • ‘To a small extent, this can also happen in the stomachs of ruminant animals, such as cows and sheep, but without the same detrimental effect as the man-made variety.’
    2. 1.2 Any of a number of organs analogous to the stomach in lower animals.
      • ‘The researchers also found the same beetles in the stomachs of the Pitohui and Ifrita bird species.’
      • ‘Over the years whalers have reported finding a high number of large squid beaks in the mammals' stomachs, pegging sperm whales as primary predators of large squid.’
      • ‘Material remaining in the stomach can include food, mucus, or hair.’
      • ‘Small perch caught near the upstream edge of the salinity wedge in Richibucto Estuary had more copepods in their stomachs than larger perch caught further downriver.’
      • ‘Their stomachs are unusual, long and folded and with a unique gastric gland.’
      • ‘Like pangolins, aardvarks have a long, protrusile tongue and a gizzard-like stomach.’
      • ‘These animals do not ruminate (chew their cud), and their stomachs may be simple and one-chambered or have up to three chambers.’
      • ‘When they are brought up from the depths, gases in their bladders expand, popping the fish's stomachs and making their eyes bug out.’
      • ‘The male seahorse has a pouch on its stomach in which to carry babies - as many as 2,000 at a time.’
      • ‘Sea stars feed by extruding their cardiac stomach over their prey, thus predation begins at the pinacocytic layer.’
      • ‘But when some of the eels were caught, their stomachs turned out to be full of shrimp.’
      • ‘Wombats are strictly herbivorous grazers; they have a simple stomach and a short, broad cecum.’
      • ‘The prey, often of almost equal size to the anglerfish, fit neatly into the anglerfish's expandable stomachs, Drazen said.’
      • ‘Eggs and tadpoles of Rheobatrachus develop in the stomach of the mother.’
      • ‘One red algal species and two green algae occuffed in stomachs at all three sites: Polysiphonia sp., Ulva sp., and Enteromorpha sp.’
      • ‘We found this out when their stomachs proved to contain nothing but fish tails.’
      • ‘In both the case of the adult and the chick the stomach cannot be filled more than a certain amount.’
      • ‘Belemnite hooks are commonly found in the fossilized stomachs of marine reptiles that preyed upon them, such as ichthyosaurs.’
      • ‘In these studies, stomachs from 4th instar A. aegypti larvae were examined using both transmission and scanning electron microscopy.’
      • ‘Their stomachs are the most acidic recorded for any vertebrate, allowing them to digest even the bones and shells of prey animals.’
    3. 1.3 The front part of the body between the chest and thighs; the belly.
      ‘Blake hit him in the stomach’
      • ‘Furtive glances dissect her at thighs, hips, stomach, chest and face.’
      • ‘They then folded their hands together in front of their stomachs and stood there like statues.’
      • ‘My favourite part of a guy's body is his stomach and then his chest.’
      • ‘He stood in front of me, looking down at his stomach and chest.’
      • ‘A woman who stabbed a former boyfriend three times in the stomach while high on drink and drugs has narrowly escaped a jail sentence.’
      • ‘I stood with my hands clasped in front of my stomach nervously.’
      • ‘They then chased the 25-year-old victim through the house before stabbing him in the stomach and thigh.’
      • ‘He had obviously been working hard lately, as I looked at his flat, toned stomach.’
      • ‘Electrodes are placed on the stomach, bottom and thighs and two electrical currents switched on.’
      • ‘I smiled at him for a second before dropping him with a hard front kick in his stomach.’
      • ‘I've got a slim body but my stomach and waist are still chubby.’
      • ‘Francesca stood at a distance from him, her hands tightly clasped in front of her stomach, feeling somewhat awkward.’
      • ‘When first learning to breathe properly, students should put their hands together in front of their stomach.’
      • ‘Shallow, I know, but I had two small children then and was in mourning for my lost stomach and thighs.’
      • ‘They arrived to find Stephen dead on the ground with multiple stab wounds to his stomach and chest.’
      • ‘Her drawn up thighs pushed hard against her stomach and chest.’
      • ‘If stomach discomfort occurs after eating cold food, place something warm on the stomach such as hot towels.’
      • ‘With his fists, he punched his opponent continuously in the stomach and chest, not giving him the chance to regain his breath.’
      • ‘We found an adult male trapped with mud up to his waist area with this log right here that was across his stomach and chest area.’
      • ‘Instead he wrapped his arm around the front of my stomach and pulled me closer.’
      torso, trunk, chest, middle
      paunch, pot belly, beer belly, girth
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    4. 1.4in singular The stomach viewed as the seat of hunger, nausea, anxiety, or other unsettling feelings.
      ‘Virginia had a sick feeling in her stomach’
      • ‘Her stomach tightened but she tried to keep a smile on her face.’
      • ‘The wheels seemed to be turning in his mind and Sally's stomach lurched with every passing second he kept silent.’
      • ‘Her stomach tightened at the thought of those revolting weapons.’
      • ‘My stomach tightened, and I thought of leaving him outside, but he'd already seen me peering at him through the window.’
      • ‘He stood staring into the night, hand on his sword hilt, stomach knotted and mind racing.’
      • ‘His stomach tightened in anticipation, knowing he was finally going to talk to the girl.’
      • ‘A lump grew in the pit of Wil's stomach and his mind churned in anger.’
      • ‘After all, everyone needs food, and sooner or later, the stomach will rule.’
      • ‘His stomach tightens in a knot as he stumbles down the hall towards his bedroom.’
      • ‘My stomach tightened and I grabbed tightly onto the wooden armrest.’
      • ‘Her stomach tightened when she reached over to brush some hair from the other girl's face and saw that those blue eyes were clouded over.’
      • ‘Her stomach tightened as she realized that she had finally arrived at a decision.’
      • ‘Her stomach tightened and she felt extremely uncomfortable about the way he said ‘fun’.’
      • ‘I paced restlessly around my small cell, stomach twisting with anxiety, and hunger.’
      • ‘Amanda's stomach tightened as she wished her friend good luck and bid her good night.’
      • ‘My stomach tightened as I saw the corners of her mouth lift into a smile.’
      • ‘The urgency in his tone caused her stomach to tighten and she looked up at him from beneath her lashes.’
      • ‘Her stomach tightened at his pronouncement but she got to her feet and approached the Captain.’
      • ‘My stomach tightened again, but this time, a different type of fear struck me.’
      • ‘His stomach tightened, thinking about that photograph he had unfortunately seen.’
  • 2in singular, usually with negative An appetite for food or drink.

    ‘she doesn't have the stomach to eat anything’
    • ‘His years at the Genki estate hadn't quite given him enough stomach for fancy foods.’
    • ‘I hadn't had the stomach to finish my food after all I had learned that evening.’
    • ‘I just didn't have the stomach to eat it.’
    • ‘Vera and Charlie were served dinner on board the jet, but Charlie didn't have the stomach to eat.’
    • ‘He was now alone, the smell of fried eggs and bacon still strong in the room, but he had not the stomach to eat.’
    appetite, taste, hunger
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    1. 2.1 A desire or inclination for something involving conflict or difficulty.
      ‘the teams proved to have no stomach for a fight’
      • ‘But behind the scenes there is no stomach for a fight.’
      • ‘Within the political establishment, there is no stomach for either course.’
      • ‘The swoop on Smith was in the first place a signal that they had not quietly dropped an investigation which many believed they had no stomach for.’
      • ‘He told of participating in strikes that he and his co-workers had no stomach for.’
      • ‘DARPA had no stomach for another privacy controversy and killed the project.’
      • ‘They have no stomach for a fight, because they have no ability to win one.’
      • ‘There are musicians with strong voices who are articulate and intelligent and who I know in private have no stomach for war who have not come forward.’
      • ‘To me it smacks of a man who, to be brutally honest, has no stomach for a fight.’
      • ‘If you have no stomach for plainsong and church polyphony, steer clear of this recording.’
      • ‘If he continually bemoaned such circumstances he would find himself out of tune with his own support, who have no stomach for even genuine excuses.’
      • ‘The world did not seem the same place anymore, and he still had no stomach for magic.’
      • ‘Yet the Western powers had no stomach for imposing an oil embargo, the one non-military step that promised eventual results.’
      • ‘There is no stomach for top-up fees in my institution, and I do not detect any among my colleagues.’
      • ‘Others have no stomach for killing, and practise taxidermy merely as an art.’
      • ‘If that sounds entertaining - even for those of us with no stomach for heavy metal - it should.’
      • ‘He had no stomach for war, and was not a war leader.’
      • ‘Our upcoming generations will have no stomach for sacrifice, discipline, or enduring burdens.’
      • ‘We won't go through with it because we have no stomach for the series of secondary decisions we're going to have to make after we've made the big one.’
      • ‘The AFL-CIO is quietly packing up its local support operation, sensing that SAG has no stomach for a real fight.’
      • ‘Those with no stomach for equities might want to consider bonds, especially Mexican corporates.’
      appetite, taste, hunger
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[with object]usually cannot stomach
  • 1Consume (food or drink) without feeling or being sick.

    ‘if you cannot stomach orange juice, try apple juice’
    • ‘She'd eaten as much breakfast as she could stomach, and kept her mind on other things so she wouldn't throw it back up.’
    • ‘Have you ever wondered how lizards can stomach worms, crickets and locusts?’
    • ‘While he could actually stomach the food, I couldn't and choose a banana and water.’
    • ‘Here you go, pal, all the bourbon you can stomach, brought to you by one of my beautiful, tunic-clad daughters.’
    • ‘Then we knocked back as many drinks as we could stomach, which brought us to my current state.’
    • ‘Just days after her birth, Stacey was diagnosed with the disease when doctors found a tube in her intestine was blocked and she could not stomach any food.’
    • ‘Vitamin D and fish oil supplements (for those who cannot stomach fish) may also be helpful.’
    • ‘All my meals were on the set, when I could actually stomach food.’
    • ‘I can barely stomach any food, which is good I guess because I'm fat anyway.’
    digest, keep down, find palatable, manage to consume, manage to eat, swallow
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    1. 1.1 Endure or accept (an obnoxious thing or person)
      ‘I can't stomach the self-righteous attitude of some managers’
      • ‘Could she stomach the knowledge of what he'd endured since he was taken from his boarding school dormitory?’
      • ‘If you cannot stomach a breach of decorum when justified outrage erupts then your support is nearly worthless anyway.’
      • ‘It simply cannot stomach the sense of some form of autonomy.’
      • ‘They cannot stomach the truth of their policy failings.’
      • ‘For those of you who can still stomach watching baseball after all that's happened, there is some compelling drama to be played out in the coming weeks.’
      • ‘A quiet man, he stomached the suffering and gave thanks we all survived.’
      • ‘It's about a recovering paedophile and I don't think people could stomach it - especially as it doesn't set out to explain, only portray.’
      • ‘This was the man who left the FNM because he didn't feel that he could stomach the corruption, and yet this was the party that he wanted to lead a couple of years ago.’
      • ‘Ideologies that affirm a set of basic truths, such as feminism and classical or neo-Marxism, cannot stomach postmodernism.’
      • ‘Boys had to endure this to prove they could stomach the hardships of hunting.’
      • ‘Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.’
      • ‘She recently quit as an assistant manager at a trading company because she could no longer stomach the attitude of her male colleagues.’
      • ‘What if you want a Boxer, but cannot stomach the thought of housebreaking, chewed up shoes and boundless puppy energy?’
      • ‘For any diver who can stomach the risks, Bushman's Hole is world-class.’
      • ‘Howard's government ‘cannot stomach the truth of their policy failings’.’
      • ‘Even for those who do not understand rural life and still cannot stomach the realities of gamekeeping, it is hard to contest that a problem exists with raptor numbers.’
      • ‘I suspect many, like me and my family, went because we cannot stomach the idea that we are being bounced into war for the sake of political expediency.’
      • ‘From soundings I've taken inside the Labour Party, people cannot stomach a war and some are going to leave the party.’
      • ‘If so, it might be worth stomaching your losses and switching out of your tech fund to something less risky.’
      • ‘Investors of any age who cannot stomach market volatility also tend to have a higher-cash portion of their portfolios.’
      tolerate, put up with, take, stand, endure, accept, swallow, bear, support, brook, submit to, countenance
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  • an army marches on its stomach

    • A group of soldiers or workers can only fight or function effectively if they have been well fed.

      • ‘Emperor Napoleon had said an army marches on its stomach.’
      • ‘Napoleon recognised that an army marches on its stomach but, today, a more pertinent question for all farmers and tax payers is: ‘Should British soldiers be stuffing themselves with foreign meat in their rations?’’
      • ‘If an army marches on its stomach, software product development at every large corporation marches on the Zee cabinet.’
      • ‘‘Napoleon said that an army marches on its stomach, and I fed these guys,’ says the Fannie Mae leader who spearheaded the move last summer.’
      • ‘As Napoleon once said, an army marches on its stomach - hence the importance of getting tucker to the troops.’
  • on a full (or an empty) stomach

    • After having eaten (or having not eaten)

      ‘I always think better on a full stomach’
      • ‘It's hard to march against hunger on an empty stomach.’
      • ‘I have to take it on an empty stomach to make it work properly.’
      • ‘The water should be drunk in the morning on an empty stomach.’
      • ‘On the subject of when is the best time to exercise, Chris feels that for cardio work, the best time is in the morning on an empty stomach, if your intention is to burn body fat.’
      • ‘But I hadn't eaten, and I know better to drink three cosmos on an empty stomach.’
      • ‘Everyone knows you can't read a book on an empty stomach.’
      • ‘These days I take five pills a day, but at one point I was on about 20-some of which could only be taken with fatty food and others on an empty stomach.’
      • ‘The dose must be administered in the morning on an empty stomach with a full glass of water.’
      • ‘A couple ended up being three, which wasn't that much, but on an empty stomach and in addition to a lack of sleep, I was a little gone.’
      • ‘I picked up my silverware, knowing full well that every great expeditioning dilemma is best contemplated on a full stomach.’
  • a strong stomach

    • An ability to see or do unpleasant things without feeling sick or squeamish.

      ‘be warned, you'll need a strong stomach’
      • ‘The book is harsh, not self-pitying, but it definitely requires a strong stomach.’
      • ‘You can read the rest if you have a strong stomach.’
      • ‘I saw the footage on LBC, and it took a strong stomach to watch the wounded carried away.’
      • ‘But for the benefit of those of us lacking such a strong stomach, the recipes in her book, Ant Egg Soup, make use of more familiar foods such as aubergine, dill and mint, also grown in abundance in Laos.’
      • ‘You'll need a strong stomach to read about her experience of childbirth on page 6, but it's powerful stuff and if the magazine's honorary girl can handle it, so can you.’
      • ‘Brian appears to have a strong stomach, a good sense of humor, and other attributes that serve him well in observing the moonbats on parade.’
      • ‘Perhaps they are, but one would need to have quite a strong stomach to sleep with two men at the same time with the prospect of getting pregnant by either.’
      • ‘It takes a strong stomach to press forward through the half page dedicated to the description of a skuzzy university toilet.’
      • ‘Incidentally, if you have a strong stomach, this New Yorker article provides more details about the offenses and the investigation.’
      • ‘Her room was painted dingy brown that could make even a strong stomach sick.’


Middle English: from Old French estomac, stomaque, via Latin from Greek stomakhos ‘gullet’, from stoma ‘mouth’. The early sense of the verb was ‘be offended at, resent’ (early 16th century).