A thin membrane which completely or partially occludes the vaginal opening. The hymen is a fold of mucous membrane usually present at birth at the orifice of the vagina. It is also called the vaginal membrane (or, sometimes, the virginal membrane). "Hymen" is a Greek word meaning "skin" or "membrane." The ancient Greeks applied the word to all kinds of membranes including, for example, the membrane that surrounds the heart (the pericardium). Starting in the 1500s the word was restricted to refer only to the vaginal membrane.
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A thin membranous fold highly variable in appearance which partly occludes the ostium of the vagina prior to its rupture (which may occur for a variety of reasons). It is frequently absent (even in virgins) although remnants are commonly present as hymenal caruncula tags. [G. h., membrane]
- h. bifenestratus, h. biforis a h. in which there are two openings separated by a wide septum. Cf.:septate h..
- cribriform h. a h. with a number of small perforations.
- denticulate h. a h. with markedly serrated edges.
- imperforate h. a h. in which there is no opening, the membrane completely occluding the vagina.
- infundibuliform h. a projecting, funnel-shaped h. with a central opening with sloping edges.
- h. sculptatus a h. with markedly uneven and ragged edges.
- septate h. a h. in which there are two openings separated by a narrow band of tissue. Cf.:h. bifenestratus.
- h. subseptus a h. in which the opening is partly closed by a septum.
- vertical h. a h. in which the opening is perpendicular.

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hy·men 'hī-mən n a fold of mucous membrane partly or wholly closing the orifice of the vagina
hy·men·al -mən-əl adj

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the membrane that covers the opening of the vagina at birth but usually perforates spontaneously before puberty. If the initial opening is small it may tear, with slight loss of blood, at the first occasion of sexual intercourse.

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hy·men (hiґmən) [Gr. hymēn membrane] [TA] the membranous fold that partially or wholly occludes the external orifice of the vagina. hymenal adj

Medical dictionary. 2011.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • hymen — hymen …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • hymen — 1. (i mèn , d après l Académie et Chifflet au XVIIe siècle qui veulent qu on prononce l n ; d autres prononcent i min ; les deux prononciations sont usitées ; les poëtes le font rimer avec des rimes en in ou en ain) s. m. 1°   Nom de la divinité… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • hymén- — hymén(o) ♦ Élément, du gr. humên « membrane ». ⇒HYMÉN(O) , (HYMÉN , HYMÉNO )élém. formant I. Élém. tiré du gr. « membrane », entrant dans la constr. de qq. termes sav.; le second élém. est d orig. grecque : hyménogonie, subst. fém., biol. «… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • hymen — 1610s, from Fr. hymen (16c.), from medical Latin, ultimately from Gk. hymen membrane (especially virginal membrane, the membrane par excellence); thin skin, from PIE *syu men , from root *syu to bind, sew (see SEW (Cf. sew)). Originally any… …   Etymology dictionary

  • hymenæa — [imenea] n. m. ÉTYM. Hyménée, n. f., 1873, P. Larousse; lat. mod. hymenæa, de hymen. → 2. Hymen. ❖ ♦ Bot. Plante dicotylédone (Légumineuses; Césalpiniacées), arbre tropical, utilisé pour son bois (⇒ Courbaril) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Hymen — Hy men, n. [L., fr. Gr. ?.] 1. (Class Myth.) A fabulous deity; according to some, the son of Apollo and Urania, according to others, of Bacchus and Venus. He was the god of marriage, and presided over nuptial solemnities. [1913 Webster] Till… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hymen — HYMEN, ĕnis; HYMENAEVS, i, Gr. Ὑμέναιος, ου, (⇒ Tab. XVI.) 1 §. Namen. Man leitet solchen insgemein von hymen, dem so genannten claustro virginitatis, oder Jungfernhäutchen, her. Voss. Etymol. in. Hymen, p. 298. Serv. ad Virg. Aen. I. 655. IV. 99 …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • Hymen — 1580s, Greek god of marriage, represented as a youth carrying a torch and a veil, perhaps etymologically the joiner, lit. the one who sews (two together); see HYMEN (Cf. hymen) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Hymen — [hī′mən] n. [L < Gr Hymēn: see HYMEN] 1. Gr. Myth. the god of marriage 2. [h ] [Old Poet.] Old Poet. a wedding song or poem …   English World dictionary

  • Hymen — Hȳmen, Genit. Hymens, plur. inus. bey den ältern Griechen der Gott der Ehen, welcher für des Bachus und der Venus Sohn ausgegeben wurde. Lyäens und Cytherens Sohn, Im schönsten Rausch geboren, Gott Hymen, der du dir zum Thron Das Hochzeitbett… …   Grammatisch-kritisches Wörterbuch der Hochdeutschen Mundart

  • hymen — HYMEN, ou Hymenée. s. m. Mariage. Il n a d usage qu en Poësie. Sous les loix de l Hymen. le joug de l Hymenée. Les Payens en faisoient une Divinité qui presidoit aux nopces …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

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