Definition of distal in US English:



  • 1Situated away from the center of the body or from the point of attachment.

    ‘the distal end of the tibia’
    The opposite of proximal
    ‘axons distal to the injury will degenerate’
    • ‘Retinal prostheses are only viable if the visual pathway distal to the retina is intact and functional.’
    • ‘In the presence of an arterial stenosis, a reduction in pressure occurs distal to the lesion.’
    • ‘This disorder occurs because of median nerve entrapment distal to the elbow.’
    • ‘The stomach and small bowel were dilated due to there being colonic atresia just distal to the cecum.’
    • ‘This section passes through the upper third of the forearm distal to the insertion of the arm muscles.’
    1. 1.1Geology Relating to or denoting the outer part of an area affected by geological activity.
      ‘the distal zone’
      Often contrasted with proximal
      • ‘These often overlie distal bayhead delta mouthbar facies, and commonly have a sharp erosive base.’
      • ‘In distal areas, a layered sedimentary unit appears under the chaotic unit.’
      • ‘The spherules in South Greenland are the first distal impact ejecta recognized in mid-Precambrian strata.’
      • ‘Similar laminated deposits are formed in more distal periglacial lakes.’
      • ‘Wonoka units 4 and 5 include distal turbidites and are of relatively deep water origin.’


Early 19th century: from distant, on the pattern of words such as dorsal.