in anatomy, "main trunk of the arterial system," 1590s, from Medieval Latin aorta, from Greek aorte "a strap to hang (something by)," a word applied by Aristotle to the great artery of the heart, literally "what is hung up," probably from aeirein "to lift, heave, raise," which is of uncertain origin, possibly from PIE root *wer- (1) "raise, lift, hold suspended." Used earlier by Hippocrates of the bronchial tubes. It is cognate with the second element in meteor. Related: Aortal; aortic.
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