Definition of vein in US English:



  • 1Any of the tubes forming part of the blood circulation system of the body, carrying in most cases oxygen-depleted blood toward the heart.

    Compare with artery
    • ‘The inferior thyroid, and intercostal bronchial, gastric, and phrenic veins provide venous drainage.’
    • ‘Such a clot will move to the heart along the main vein of the body, the inferior vena cava.’
    • ‘The veins around the anus drain into larger veins that carry the blood through the liver and up to the heart.’
    • ‘When people are resting supine, the return of blood along the veins to the heart is largely a passive process.’
    • ‘If the embolus is in a vein, the tube system widens along the direction of the blood flow, so a small embolus doesn't do much harm until it gets through the heart (after which it enters an artery).’
    • ‘The larvae enter the veins of the portal system and are carried to the liver.’
    • ‘The pulmonary veins are big veins that come from the lungs and take the blood from the lungs back into the heart.’
    • ‘The thoracic duct was identified, lying between the right azygous vein and the descending aorta just in front of the spine.’
    • ‘The renal and testicular veins show many irregularities when the left inferior vena cava persists.’
    • ‘Just behind the mitral valve, there is a vein called the coronary sinus, a large vein in the heart that normally drains all of the blood from the coronary arteries.’
    • ‘The renal capsule, ureter, renal veins, and adrenal gland were free of tumor.’
    • ‘The veins merge to carry blood to the inferior vena cava.’
    • ‘This puts the full weight of your uterus on your back and on the major vein that carries blood between your lower body and heart.’
    • ‘Blood from all parts of the body returns through veins to the right atrium (grey arrows).’
    • ‘It is rare to find a simple right lymphatic duct that enters directly into the junction of the internal jugular and subclavian veins.’
    • ‘An aortogram shows opacification of pulmonary arteries, veins and right atrium as well as the aorta.’
    • ‘They happen when the valves in the veins become weak or break, allowing blood to collect in the veins instead of being carried up to the heart.’
    • ‘Tumor infiltration of leptomeningeal veins, cranial nerves, and spinal roots was also noted.’
    • ‘The renal vein, renal pelvis, and ureter were free of tumor.’
    • ‘Rarely the tumor may involve the renal vein, vena cava, and extrarenal soft tissues.’
    1. 1.1 (in general and figurative use) a blood vessel.
      ‘he felt the adrenaline course through his veins’
      • ‘The medical team has been rehearsing the operation using life-size models which not only replicate the babies blood vessels, but show their veins.’
      • ‘Me, I just wanted to thank him for having a pulse, for the blood coursing through his veins and into mine.’
      • ‘Then, ‘we have songs coursing through our veins and blood and daily lives.’’
      • ‘They also boost the strength of the skin's small artery walls, helping to reduce the appearance of broken veins.’
      • ‘My body absorbed that ability as well; my veins are internally hardened against acids.’
      • ‘Surgery involves a day in hospital, a general anaesthetic and a series of incisions through which the veins are removed from the leg.’
      • ‘As his name suggests, if you go back three or four generations, Dundee has both Scottish and Irish blood coursing through his veins.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, none of these will fix or eliminate the damaged veins that hinder proper circulation of blood through the body.’
      • ‘My hold on the blood in her veins, heart, body and mind is too powerful for her to fight; my will is stronger than hers, and I will always be able to bend her to it.’
      • ‘In the preparation, how hard was it to figure out which blood vessels, which veins, belong to which of the twins?’
      • ‘Like all Hudson's best films, My Life So Far has Scottish blood coursing through its veins.’
      • ‘The tumor that you see here is my own blood vessels, my own veins, all swollen and tangled, engorged, and mixed together that bulge out like this.’
      • ‘But when the adrenaline is pumping to your brain, the hot, sticky blood coursing through your veins, who could resist?’
      • ‘I felt his lips at my vein, then his teeth, and all I could do was cry.’
      • ‘Now finally alone in the bathroom of the inn, I look down at my hands, at the veins running under the skin.’
      • ‘I'm sure he's also a nice man but beyond that, well, his demeanour and golf game are not exactly designed to send the blood coursing through the veins.’
      • ‘True love, it seems, has a nourishing effect; it performs a similar function to the veins which carry enriching blood around the body.’
      • ‘Although that could be a symptom of the general laziness that was running through my veins today.’
      • ‘I don't have any evidence, but it seems that many types of humor may in fact generally anger him to the point of bursting a vein or two.’
      • ‘The General's veins started to pulse faster, and more violently.’
      duct, tube, channel, passage, pipe
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (in plants) a slender rib running through a leaf or bract, typically dividing or branching, and containing a vascular bundle.
      • ‘The thickness of transverse sections of leaf blades was determined at small veins for three leaves of each treatment.’
      • ‘Iron deficiency is characterized by an interveinal chlorosis of young leaves while the veins remain green.’
      • ‘Unlike roots or branches, the veins of the leaves are uninsulated; the water would freeze in the cells and burst.’
      • ‘Magnesium deficiency in the soil may be one reason your tomato leaves yellow between the leaf veins late in the season and fruit production slows down.’
      • ‘When leaves turn yellow while veins remain green, it's a sign of chlorosis, a condition caused by an iron deficiency in the soil.’
      • ‘The most conspicuous symptom is coloration between the main veins of the leaf, which becomes particularly noticeable around veraison.’
      • ‘Each wall in each alcove had detailed plants and flowers, each plant's leaf had carefully carved veins.’
      • ‘Leaf veins branch like a roadmap beneath her tiny body.’
      • ‘One could see the veins in the leaves, the tiny thorns on the stem… it was entirely transparent.’
      • ‘It is worse among leaves with prominent veins where small air channels may form between the gasket and the sides of the vein.’
      • ‘Long hairs are situated on veins and glandular trichomes occur both on the leaf surface and veins.’
      • ‘The leaves of the plant are rough from numerous stiff hairs while the veins of the leaf have a blackish tinge that produces a characteristic shadowy complexion to the foliage.’
      • ‘One leaf disc with known area was detached from each leaf, avoiding major veins and the midrib.’
      • ‘Nutrients are transported from the roots to the leaves inside the veins in the xylem.’
      • ‘Expression was also detected in stamens, in cotyledons, and in major veins of some mature leaves.’
      • ‘Plants show similar repetitive structures in, for example, the veins on a leaf or a tree's branching limbs.’
      • ‘Most plants have leaves with veins that fork outward from a central midrib.’
      • ‘Details like the veins in the leaves or the contrast between petals are emphasized.’
      • ‘Expression was also detected in vascular tissues, leaf veins, siliques, and in pollen sacs.’
      • ‘Leaves (including leaf veins and petioles) were dried at 70°C and ground into a fine powder.’
    3. 1.3 (in insects) a hardened branching rib that forms part of the supporting framework of a wing, consisting of an extension of the tracheal system; a nervure.
      • ‘The flesh in between the second and third wing veins had been entirely burnt away, leaving a charred hole where the main driving force should come from.’
      • ‘At an age of about 10 weeks we took a blood sample of 10 l from the brachial vein in the wing.’
      • ‘You can tell it's a ‘she’ by the relatively thick wing veins and the lack of a pouch-like swelling on a vein on the hindwing.’
      • ‘The fore and hind wings were similar, with the R vein was bent back at the base in the fore-wings, less so in the hind wings.’
      • ‘Blood used for counts of blood parasites was obtained by puncturing a wing vein with a small syringe tip.’
      • ‘The measurements were consistently made from the same point of the junction of the wing veins.’
      • ‘Six have previously known effects on wing veins, wing bristles, or wing posture, but none were known to affect wing shape.’
      • ‘He beat his wing veins again, his scarlet eyes burning brightly from out his metal skull plating.’
      • ‘The anterior wing margin, delimited by the L1 wing vein, is composed of a triple row of sensory bristles.’
      • ‘The kni locus, while important for the establishment of several wing veins, has not been known to play a role in eye development.’
      • ‘The light, bright green of this insect extends to its four wings, delicate membranes stretched between a network of veins.’
      • ‘Again, this character is curiously labeled because veins cannot traverse across the posterior wing margin in insects.’
      • ‘The wings disappeared and veins showed through its skin.’
      • ‘The periodical cicada has protruding red eyes and orange legs; adults have clear wings with orange veins.’
      • ‘The unique wing is a three-dimensional impression with brown-colored veins and pigmentation.’
  • 2A fracture in rock containing a deposit of minerals or ore and typically having an extensive course underground.

    • ‘The liquid sulfur penetrates cracks and veins in the surrounding rock, where it eventually solidifies.’
    • ‘The principal vein is the mother lode, now a figure of speech as well as the name of one of the most famous deposits of the Californian Gold Rush.’
    • ‘Hushing, for example was the technique of using water to wash away the soil and surface debris to reveal the vein of mineral below and it was used extensively in the Dales.’
    • ‘These features include veins, fold-related fractures, cleavage and cleavage/bedding intersections.’
    • ‘Injected into the granite are veins of quartz with green fluorite, which are the source of the amethyst.’
    • ‘The calcite acts as a mask, obscuring the gold-bearing veins from the predominate ones that contain nothing.’
    • ‘At first sight the most remarkable mineral of the vein is villiaumite.’
    • ‘Quartz and sphalerite occur in vugs and veins in the chert nodules.’
    • ‘They were deposited by a hydrothermal vein cutting granite, which was later eroded exposing surface ore.’
    • ‘Copper also filled voids and occurred in thin fissure veins that cut the lodes.’
    • ‘The ultramafic and mafic intrusive rocks are cut by very few quartz veins and have not been found to host beryl or emerald.’
    • ‘Hydrothermal fluids circulate through rock to leach small amounts of gold from large volumes of rock and then deposit it in fractures to form veins.’
    • ‘The granite rocks of the glacial valley contain quartz veins of silver, lead and zinc and at one time there were over 2 000 miners toiling there.’
    • ‘There are two kinds of tungsten deposits: wolframite in quartz veins and in scheelite skarn.’
    • ‘Gold occurs in quartz veins with chalcopyrite, galena, pyrite, and sphalerite.’
    • ‘The order of deposition for the main vein minerals typically is dolomite, barite, and quartz.’
    • ‘Quartz is the dominant mineral in veins in siliceous rocks, calcite in limestones, and gypsum in gypsiferous sediments.’
    • ‘Zeolite veins appear to be later than prehnite veins, and calcite is the last mineral to form veins in the dyke samples.’
    • ‘The principal sulfide minerals in these deep veins are identical to those in the main orebody.’
    • ‘West of the town is a volcanic hill, only a few hundred meters high, that contained extensive silver veins.’
    layer, lode, seam, stratum, stratification, bed, deposit, accumulation
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A streak or stripe of a different color in wood, marble, cheese, etc.
      • ‘The floor was a stunning green marble with veins of vivid gold, dotted with massive pillars of white marble that supported a soaring dome ceiling.’
      • ‘Irregular veins of white streaked across the forms, adding an almost eerie flare to the smooth stone.’
      • ‘He sighed, and traced a vein in the table wood before answering, and it was obvious this came hard for him.’
      • ‘He opened them again and concentrated and caused veins of colours from red to purple and white to black dance across the sphere.’
      • ‘Blue cheese is a white cheese with blue veins and a sometimes crumbly interior.’
      streak, marking, mark, line, stripe, strip, band, thread, fleck, dash, flash, swathe, strand
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 A body of subsurface water, especially as considered a source or potential source of water for a well or wells and thought of as flowing in a channel.
    3. 2.3 A source of a specified quality or other abstract resource.
      ‘he managed to tap into the thick vein of discontent to his own advantage’
      • ‘It's been argued by aficionados that within Leonard Cohen's melancholic work is a thick vein of comedy.’
      • ‘For these operas, Wagner mined the same vein of Nordic myth that J.R.R. Tolkien used a century later for his own Ring epic.’
      • ‘Unfortunately I didn't watch it, so that's a rich vein of source material for this blog down the drain.’
      • ‘Songs like ‘I Have Forgiven Jesus’ mine a deep vein of self-loathing that, poignant in his younger self, seems more troubling in a man in his forties.’
      • ‘Well, I think he tapped into a vein of discontent among the American people.’
      rich source, repository, store, storehouse, reservoir, gold mine, mint, treasure house, treasury, reserve, fund, wealth, stock, supply, hoard, accumulation
      View synonyms
  • 3in singular A distinctive quality, style, or tendency.

    ‘he closes his article in a somewhat humorous vein’
    • ‘In a similar vein, it is worth asking whether companies really are acting responsibly in withdrawing their investments from developing economies with corrupt governments.’
    • ‘In a different vein Abu Tammam wrote most of his verses about historical events.’
    • ‘In a similar vein one can't help thinking most people would be better off forgetting about lifestyles and getting a life.’
    • ‘The ads display black and white photos of the party's Legco candidates taken from a video portraying its members in a similar vein to the fictional presidential cabinet in the TV series.’
    • ‘Barber contented himself to work in general a rather conservative vein, which owes a lot to Brahms's choral music.’
    • ‘He spoke in similar vein to a meeting of generals on 30 March 1941, when, according to the abbreviated record of General Halder, Hitler said.’
    • ‘In a slightly different vein, the poems also propose an invisibly humble layperson's version of an engaged Zen Buddhist life.’
    • ‘In this vein, General Motors has adopted podcasting to promote several of their product lines.’
    • ‘In the same vein as concrete support, fathers responded to the question about help or support they had received by talking about the child care the program offered.’
    • ‘Hank Ketcham's Dennis the Menace was getting popular as a newspaper strip and in comic books so they asked Mayer to come up with something in a similar vein.’
    • ‘In a similar vein, transparent quality testing and other compare-with-reality tests can help keep opinions grounded.’
    • ‘His most characteristic paintings are in an extremely uninhibited and agitated Expressionist vein, with strident colours and violent brushwork applied with very thick impasto.’
    • ‘It was in a similar vein to the ‘Dear Bill’ letters.’
    • ‘A while back we mentioned what was going on with the other London Bridge and in a similar vein we also like keep an eye on developments in Londons that find themselves flung far away from this, their namesake.’
    • ‘Young For Eternity follows in a similar vein, crashing thrashing guitars and has us bouncing around the room looking for the nearest tennis racket, or failing that a decent sized mosh pit.’
    • ‘There's a really interesting post in a similar vein on too.’
    • ‘Cautious balanced funds in this vein generally outperform zero-risk savings or investments by a significant 2 or 3 per cent.’
    • ‘In a similar vein, while the weather was good news for some attractions - both paid-for and free - others were badly hit as both visitors and Scots headed outdoors.’
    • ‘Not necessarily as instantly watchable as the now-infamous ‘Wife Swap’, but still in a similar vein of fish-out-of-water scenarios.’
    • ‘While arguing a case, the Advocate General, in a lighter vein, said that if income tax defaulters are detained under the Goondas Act, most of his friends would be inside prison.’
    mood, humour, temper, temperament, disposition, frame of mind, state of mind, attitude, inclination, tendency, tenor, tone, key, spirit, character, stamp, feel, feeling, flavour, quality, atmosphere
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French veine, from Latin vena. The earliest senses were ‘blood vessel’ and ‘small natural underground channel of water’.