from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The membranous sac filled with serous fluid that encloses the heart and the roots of the aorta and other large blood vessels.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A serous membrane that surrounds the heart allowing it to contract.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The double baglike fold of serous membrane which incloses the heart.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In anatomy and zoology: A somewhat conically shaped membranous sac, inclosing the heart and the origin of the great vessels.
  • n. A blood-sinus or special cavity beneath the carapace of a crustacean, in which the heart is suspended by ligaments and arteries, but not otherwise connected.
  • n. In mollusks, the spacious dorsal cœlom or body-cavity which is traversed by the contractile vessel which acts like a heart.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a serous membrane with two layers that surrounds the heart


New Latin, from Greek perikardion, from perikardios, around the heart : peri-, peri- + kardiā, heart; see kerd- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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