Definition of lacteal in US English:



  • 1Of milk.

    • ‘The study of the kind of lacteal feeding of 667 and 294 children admitted to an Assistential Hospital of S. Paulo City in 1969 and 1972, showed a reduction of breast feeding, in the first year of life, from 5.84% in 1969 to 3.61% in 1972, and of mixed feeding from 5.54% to 4.41%.’
    • ‘It is in fact a very advanced and concentrated refined lacteal complex.’
    • ‘More particularly it relates to breast pads designed to minimize irritation caused by the retention of lacteal fluid on the body-contacting portion of the pad.’
    1. 1.1Anatomy (of a vessel) conveying chyle or other milky fluid.
      • ‘He noted that adhesions to the lacteal duct area could be produced by a variety of sources including high fever, abdominal injury, and nerve reflexes from injured spinal centers.’
      • ‘In this way the lacteal sinuses, which contain the initial milk, are pulled into the mouth so that the gum pads and the tip of the tongue can initiate the ‘milking’ process.’
      • ‘The hot castor oil pack is placed over the right side of the abdomen in the area of the lacteal ducts.’

plural noun

  • The lymphatic vessels of the small intestine which absorb digested fats.

    • ‘Furthermore, many lacteals are dilated and full of chylomicrons when they should be empty in the fasting state.’
    • ‘The lymphatics or lacteals blocked with fat deposits are seen on electron microscopy on small bowel endoscopic biopsies.’
    • ‘The aim of the Scottish anatomist in this showpiece dissection was to prove once and for all that only the lymphatic vessels - in this case, those known as the lacteals in the intestines - and not the veins were capable of absorbing fats.’
    • ‘The lymph in the lacteals has a milky appearance due to its high fat content and is called chyle.’
    • ‘Lymphangiectasia is a disease characterized by pathologically dilated and leaky lacteals.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin lacteus (from lac, lact- ‘milk’) + -al.