A shunt is a small tube that goes inside the body to drain fluid. It also means to divert in a general way, like if you shunt the thought of tubes in your body, you think about rainbows and kittens instead.

Although shunt usually refers to a tube that drains blood or other fluid out of a part of the body, shunt also means to bypass. If a train is shunted, it’s diverted from the main track onto a side track. The word may have come from shun, as in “turn away,” which is what a shunt essentially does. It turns something away from where it was headed.

Definitions of shunt
  1. noun
    a conductor having low resistance in parallel with another device to divert a fraction of the current
    synonyms: bypass, electrical shunt
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a device designed to transmit electricity, heat, etc.
  2. noun
    a passage by which a bodily fluid (especially blood) is diverted from one channel to another
    “an arteriovenus shunt
    see moresee less
    a surgically created shunt (usually around a damaged part)
    portacaval shunt
    shunt that is created surgically between the portal vein and the inferior vena cava so that blood from the abdominal organs can bypass the liver
    type of:
    passage, passageway
    a path or channel or duct through or along which something may pass
  3. noun
    implant consisting of a tube made of plastic or rubber; for draining fluids within the body
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a prosthesis placed permanently in tissue
  4. verb
    transfer to another track, of trains
    see moresee less
    type of:
    shift, transfer
    move around
  5. verb
    provide with or divert by means of an electrical shunt
    see moresee less
    type of:
    cause to turn away from a previous or expected course
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week