Definition of medial in US English:



  • 1Situated in the middle.

    • ‘A medial moraine is a strip of morainal debris in the middle of glacier ice which marks where two glaciers come together.’
    • ‘Not until after midnight, in an eerie twilight, do we sideslip around a medial moraine and discover two gigantic black holes in the silver glacier.’
    1. 1.1Anatomy Zoology Situated near the median plane of the body or the midline of an organ.
      ‘a medial ligament’
      The opposite of lateral
      • ‘These fibers are named the medial and lateral patellar ligaments.’
      • ‘A negative number meant that the lateral malleolus was actually anterior to the plane of the medial malleolus.’
      • ‘The deep branch innervates the quadriceps muscle, knee joint, and medial ligament.’
      • ‘Osseous stability is reinforced by the medial and lateral ligament complexes.’
      • ‘With immobilization, the tight medial and posterior tarsal ligaments tend to yield.’
      halfway, in-between, middle, mid, midway, median, intermediary, intervening, interposed, transitional
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Phonetics (of a speech sound) in the middle of a word.
      ‘a medial consonant’
      • ‘There is no b in dummy, derived from dumb, or crummy, derived from crumb, and although b is not pronounced finally in bomb, medial b is pronounced in bombard.’
      • ‘Children were asked to remove phonemes from the beginning or medial portions of one-, two-, and three-syllable words.’
      • ‘Epenthesis also occurs after medial m in some words: for example, Latin camera and numerus became French chambre and nombre, English chamber and number.’
      • ‘An obvious device for poets and lyricists who are concerned with sound is alliteration, the repetition of initial or medial sounds in two or more adjacent words.’
      • ‘A total of 15 items were included on this task requiring students to delete initial, medial, and final phonemes from words.’
      mean, median, middle
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Phonetics (of a vowel) pronounced in the middle of the mouth; central.
      middle, centre, halfway, midway, mid, median, mean, middling, intermediate, intermedial
      View synonyms


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘relating to the mean or average’): from late Latin medialis, from Latin medius ‘middle’.