Definition of celiac in US English:


(British coeliac)


  • 1Anatomy
    Relating to the abdomen.

    • ‘Patients with severe, refractory celiac sprue are at an increased risk of developing intestinal T-cell lymphoma.’
    • ‘Abdominal exploration showed that celiac lymph nodes were normal in appearance.’
    • ‘With the exception of nausea and vomiting secondary to stimulation of the celiac plexus, gastrointestinal symptoms are usually absent.’
    • ‘The celiac artery was normal without sign of bleeding.’
    • ‘Iron is absorbed in the proximal small intestine, where celiac manifestations are most prominent; hence, iron malabsorption is common.’
    enteric, gastroenteric, duodenal, coeliac, gastric, ventral, stomach, abdominal, visceral
    View synonyms
  • 2Medicine
    Relating to or affected by celiac disease.

    ‘a celiac child’
    • ‘Because gluten is so far-reaching, reading labels is a necessity for celiac patients.’
    • ‘The gluten free wafers had been available for coeliac sufferers for years and were kept in a separate vessel.’
    • ‘When consumed by celiac sufferers, gluten damages the lining of the small intestine, blocking nutrient absorption and leading to vitamin deficiencies.’
    • ‘The villi in celiac patients have collapsed and fail to absorb nutrients.’
    • ‘The doctor comments on the high incidence of osteoporosis in coeliac patients and says that this may be a presenting feature.’


  • A person with celiac disease.

    • ‘Staples such as bread, pasta and flour can be obtained on prescription and many coeliacs can eat a healthy and even enjoyable diet.’
    • ‘The society estimates that there are possibly 16,000 coeliacs in the country.’
    • ‘His son is a coeliac, he must avoid wheat and gluten products.’
    • ‘The market has a very good range of gluten free food (muffins, chocolate cakes and gluten free bread) which should suit all coeliacs.’
    • ‘Imagine my shock when the maitre d' on being told that I was a celiac and allergic to flour removed the vase of carnations from my table, apologising profusely.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin coeliacus, from Greek koiliakos, from koilia ‘belly’.