Definition of ectopic in US English:



  • In an abnormal place or position.

    • ‘Patients with other abnormalities such as ectopic ureters and diverticulae can also present with incontinence.’
    • ‘A second class of mutant displays sensory organs in wholly ectopic positions, although these are always separated by epidermal cells.’
    • ‘We describe another mechanism limiting the tendency of heterologous chromosomes to undergo ectopic recombination.’
    • ‘A preoperative thyroid scan should be performed to rule out ectopic thyroid tissue.’
    • ‘In addition, each of the single mutants exhibits a small increase of the number of root hairs in the upper part of this organ caused by the formation of some root hairs in ectopic positions.’


  • An ectopic pregnancy.

    • ‘However, when accidental pregnancy does occur, there is an increased proportion of ectopics, highest with the Progesterone-T.’
    • ‘The doctors decided to do a laparoscopy to find out if it was an ectopic, appendicitis or an ovarian cyst and then operate accordingly.’
    • ‘And the biggest worry was it going to be a third ectopic.’
    • ‘Methotrexate injection is a nonsurgical treatment for ectopics of less than 3.5 cm with no fetal heart motion.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, and even though patients were taking amiodarone, pulse rate increases and ventricular ectopics recurred more commonly in those with hyperthyroidism, but not in those with hypothyroidism.’


Late 19th century: from modern Latin ectopia ‘presence of tissue, cells, etc. in an abnormal place’ (from Greek ektopos ‘out of place’) + -ic.