vein

A vein is a blood vessel. If you've ever donated blood, you know that having a needle put in your vein by a health care worker is not nearly as scary as it sounds.

Although it mainly describes part of the body's circulatory system, vein can also refer to a pattern that looks like a vein in your body. For example, you can describe the streaks of color that run through blue cheese as veins of greenish-blue. Similarly, a theme or idea that continues appearing throughout a book could be called a vein. The trickiest thing about the word vein is trying not to confuse it with its homophones — vane (as in weather vane) and vain (as in conceited).

Definitions of vein
  1. noun
    a blood vessel that carries blood from the capillaries toward the heart
    “all veins except the pulmonary vein carry unaerated blood”
    synonyms: vena, venous blood vessel
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    types:
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    accessory cephalic vein, vena cephalica accessoria
    a vein that passes along the radial edge of the forearm and joins the cephalic vein near the elbow
    accessory hemiazygos vein, accessory hemiazygous vein, vena hemiazygos accessoria
    a vein formed by the union of the 4th to 7th posterior intercostal veins; empties into the azygos vein
    accessory vertebral vein, vena vertebralis accessoria
    a vein that accompanies the vertebral vein but passes through the foramen of the transverse process of the 7th cervical vertebra and empties into the brachiocephalic vein
    accompanying vein, vena comitans
    a vein accompanying another structure; a vein may accompany an artery in such a way that the arterial pulses aid venous return
    anastomotic vein, vena anastomotica
    either of two communicating veins serving the brain
    angular vein, vena angularis
    a short vein formed by the supraorbital vein and the supratrochlear vein and continuing as the facial vein
    anterior vertebral vein, vena vertebralis anterior
    a vein that accompanies the ascending cervical artery and opens into the vertebral vein
    appendicular vein, vena appendicularis
    a vein that accompanies the appendicular artery and empties into the ileocolic vein
    arcuate vein of the kidney, vena arcuata renis
    veins that receive blood from interlobular veins of kidney and rectal venules
    auricular vein, vena auricularis
    one of two veins serving the ear region
    axillary vein, vena axillaris
    a continuation of the basilic vein and brachial vein that becomes the subclavian vein
    azygos vein, azygous vein, vena azygos
    one of a system of veins that drain the thoracic and abdominal walls; arises as a continuation of the right ascending lumbar vein and terminates in the superior vena cava
    basal vein, vena basalis
    a large vein passing along the medial surface of the temporal lobe and emptying into the great cerebral vein
    basilic vein, vena basilica
    a vein that drains the back of the hand and forearm and empties into the axillary vein
    basivertebral vein, vena basivertebralis
    one of a number of veins draining the spongy substance of the vertebrae and emptying into the anterior internal vertebral venous plexus
    brachial vein, vena brachialis
    two veins in either arm that accompany the brachial artery and empty into the axillary vein
    brachiocephalic vein, innominate vein, vena brachiocephalica
    veins formed by the union of the internal jugular and subclavian veins
    bronchial vein, vena bronchialis
    veins serving the bronchi; empty into the azygos vein
    cardinal vein
    any of the major venous channels in primitive adult vertebrates and in embryos of higher vertebrates
    central veins of liver, venae centrales hepatis
    terminal branches of the hepatic veins that lie in the hepatic lobules and receive blood from the liver sinusoids
    central vein of retina, vena centrales retinae
    vein formed by the union of the retinal veins; accompanies central arteries of the retina in the optic nerve
    central vein of suprarenal gland, vena centralis glandulae suprarenalis
    a single draining vein; on the right it empties into the inferior vena cava; on the left it empties into the left renal vein
    cephalic vein, vena cephalica
    a large vein of the arm that empties into the axillary vein
    cerebellar vein, vena cerebellum
    the veins draining the cerebellum
    cerebral vein, vena cerebri
    any of several veins serving the cerebral hemispheres of the brain
    cervical vein, deep cervical vein, vena cervicalis profunda
    a vein that accompanies an artery of the same name
    choroid vein, vena choroidea
    either of two veins serving the choroid coat of the eye
    ciliary veins, venae ciliares
    small veins coming from the ciliary body
    circumflex vein, vena circumflexa
    any of several curved parallel veins accompanying arteries of the same name
    clitoral vein, vena clitoridis
    veins that serve the clitoris
    colic vein, vena colica
    vein serving the large intestine
    common facial vein
    vein formed by union of facial vein and the retromandibular vein and emptying into the jugular vein
    conjunctival veins, venae conjunctivales
    veins draining the conjunctiva
    costoaxillary vein
    one of several veins connecting intercostal veins with the lateral thoracic vein or the thoracoepigastric vein
    cutaneous vein, vena cutanea
    one of a number of veins in the subcutaneous tissue that empty into deep veins
    cystic vein, vena cystica
    vein that drains the gallbladder
    digital vein, vena digitalis
    one of the veins serving the fingers or toes
    diploic vein, vena diploica
    one of the veins serving the spongy part of the cranial bones
    dorsal scapular vein, vena scapularis dorsalis
    vein that is a tributary of the subclavian vein or external jugular vein and accompanies the descending scapular artery
    emissary vein, vena emissaria
    one of several connecting veins in the scalp and head that drain blood from sinuses in the dura mater to veins outside the skull
    epigastric vein
    veins serving the anterior walls of the abdomen
    esophageal veins, oesophageal veins, venae esophageae
    small veins from the esophagus emptying into the brachiocephalic vein or the azygos veins
    ethmoidal vein, vena ethmoidalis
    veins that drain the ethmoidal sinuses and empty into the superior ophthalmic vein
    external nasal vein, vena nasalis externa
    one of the veins that drain the external nose and empty into the angular or facial vein
    facial vein, vena facialis
    any of several veins draining the face
    femoral vein, vena femoralis
    a vein that accompanies the femoral artery in the same sheath; a continuation of the popliteal vein; becomes the external iliac vein
    gastric vein, vena gastrica
    one of several veins draining the stomach walls
    gastroepiploic vein, gastroomental vein, vena gastroomentalis
    one of two veins serving the great curvature of the stomach
    genicular vein, vena genus
    veins that drain blood from structures around the knee; empty into the popliteal vein
    gluteal vein, vena gluteus
    veins draining the gluteal muscles on either side of the body
    hemizygos vein, hemizygous vein, vena hemizygos
    a continuation of the left ascending lumbar vein; crosses the midline at the 8th vertebra and empties into the azygos vein
    hemorrhoidal vein, rectal vein, vena rectalis
    any of several veins draining the walls of the anal canal and rectum
    hepatic vein, vena hepatica
    a vein that drains the liver; empties into the vena cava
    ileocolic vein, vena ileocolica
    a vein that drains the end of the ileum and the appendix and the cecum and the lower part of the ascending colon
    iliac vein, vena iliaca
    one of three veins draining the pelvic area
    iliolumbar vein, vena iliolumbalis
    a branch of the internal iliac vein
    intercapitular vein, vena intercapitalis
    veins connecting the dorsal and palmar veins of the hand or the dorsal and plantar veins of the foot
    intercostal vein, vena intercostalis
    several veins draining the intercostal spaces of the rib cage
    intervertebral vein, vena intervertebralis
    one of several veins accompanying spinal nerves
    jugular, jugular vein, vena jugularis
    veins in the neck that return blood from the head
    labial vein, vena labialis
    a vein draining the lips of the mouth
    labial vein, vena labialis
    veins draining the lips of the vulva
    internal auditory vein, labyrinthine vein
    veins that drain the inner ear
    lacrimal vein, vena lacrimalis
    drains the lacrimal gland; empties into the superior ophthalmic vein
    laryngeal vein, vena laryngea
    one of two veins draining the larynx
    lingual vein, vena lingualis
    a vein that receives blood from the tongue and the floor of the mouth and empties into the internal jugular or the facial vein
    lumbar vein, vena lumbalis
    veins that drain the posterior body wall and the lumbar vertebral venous plexuses
    maxillary vein, vena maxillaris
    posterior continuation of the pterygoid plexus; joins the superficial temporal vein to form the retromandibular vein
    meningeal veins, venae meningeae
    veins at accompany the meningeal arteries
    mesenteric vein, vena mesenterica
    a tributary of the portal vein passing from the intestine between the two layers of mesentery
    metacarpal vein, vena metacarpus
    dorsal and palmar veins of the hand
    metatarsal vein, vena metatarsus
    dorsal and plantar branches of veins serving the metatarsal region of the foot
    musculophrenic vein, vena musculophrenica
    veins that drain the upper abdominal wall and the lower intercostal spaces and the abdomen
    nasofrontal vein, vena nasofrontalis
    a vein located in the anterior medial part of the orbit; connects the superior ophthalmic with the angular vein
    oblique vein of the left atrium, vena obliqua atrii sinistri
    a tributary of the coronary sinus; on the posterior wall of the left atrium
    obturator vein, vena obturatoria
    a vein formed by the union of tributaries that drain the hip joints and thigh muscles; empties into the internal iliac vein
    occipital vein, vena occipitalis
    a vein that drains the occipital region
    ophthalmic vein, vena ophthalmica
    either of two veins that serve the eye; empties into the cavernous sinus
    ovarian vein, vena ovarica
    one of the veins that drain the ovaries; the right opens into the inferior vena cava; the left opens into the left renal vein
    palatine vein, vena palatina
    a vein that drains the region of the palate and empties into the facial vein
    pancreatic vein, venae pancreatica
    veins draining the pancreas and emptying into the superior mesenteric and splenic veins
    paraumbilical vein, vena paraumbilicalis
    small veins arising in skin around the navel; terminate as accessory portal veins
    parotid vein
    parotid branches of the facial vein; they drain part of the parotid gland and empty into the retromandibular vein
    pectoral vein, vena pectoralis
    veins that drain the pectoral muscles and empty into the subclavian vein
    perforating vein, vena perforantis
    veins that accompany the perforating arteries; drain leg muscles; empty into the deep femoral vein
    pericardial vein, vena pericardiaca
    several small veins from the pericardium
    fibular vein, peroneal vein, vena peroneus
    accompany the peroneal arteries; arising in the heel and running up the back of the leg to join the posterior tibial veins of the popliteal vein
    pharyngeal vein, vena pharyngeus
    veins from the pharyngeal plexus that empty into the internal jugular vein
    phrenic vein, vena phrenica
    either of two veins that drain the diaphragm
    popliteal vein, vena poplitea
    a vein arising in the knee and ascending to become the femoral vein
    hepatic portal vein, portal, portal vein, vena portae
    a short vein that carries blood into the liver
    posterior vein of the left ventricle, vena posterior ventriculi sinistri
    arises near the apex of the heart and empties into the coronary sinus
    prepyloric vein, vena pylorica
    a tributary of the right gastric vein
    pudendal vein, venae pudendum
    vein of the pudendum
    pulmonary vein, vena pulmonalis
    any of four veins that carry arterial blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart
    radial vein, vena radialis
    superficial veins ascending the radial side of the forearm; combines with the ulnar veins to form the brachial vein
    renal vein, vena renalis
    veins that accompany renal arteries; open into the vena cava at the level of the 2nd lumbar vertebra
    sacral vein, vena sacralis
    vein of the sacral region
    saphenous vein, vena saphena
    either of two chief superficial veins of the leg that drain blood from the foot
    scleral veins, venae sclerales
    tributaries of the anterior ciliary veins that drain the sclera of the eye
    scrotal vein, vena scrotalis
    veins passing from the scrotum to the pudendal veins
    sigmoid vein, vena sigmoideus
    tributaries of the inferior mesenteric vein; drains the sigmoid colon
    spinal vein, vena spinalis
    veins that drain the spinal cord
    splenic vein, vena lienalis
    a vein formed by several small veins on the surface of the spleen; joins the superior mesenteric to form the portal vein
    sternocleidomastoid vein, vena sternocleidomastoidea
    drains the sternocleidomastoid muscle; empties into the internal jugular vein
    stylomastoid vein, vena stylomastoidea
    a vein that drains the tympanic cavity and empties into the retromandibular vein
    subclavian vein, vena subclavia
    a continuation of the axillary vein; joins the internal jugular to form the brachiocephalic vein
    sublingual vein, vena sublingualis
    a tributary of the lingual vein
    supraorbital vein, vena supraorbitalis
    drains the front of the scalp; unites with the supratrochlear vein to form the angular vein
    supratrochlear vein, vena supratrochlearis
    drains the front of the scalp; unites with the supraorbital vein to form the angular vein
    temporal vein, vena temporalis
    any of several veins draining the temporal region
    testicular vein, vena testicularis
    a vein from the testicles
    thalamostriate vein
    a vein serving the thalamus and corpus striatum
    thoracoepigastric vein, vena thoracoepigastrica
    a vein arising from the region of the superficial epigastric vein and opening into the axillary vein or thoracic vein
    thoracic vein, vena thoracica
    veins that drain the thoracic walls
    thyroid vein, vena thyroidea
    any of several small veins draining blood from the thyroid area
    tibial vein, vena tibialis
    veins of the lower leg; empty into the popliteal vein
    tracheal vein, vena trachealis
    several small veins from the trachea
    tympanic vein
    veins from the tympanic cavity that empty into the retromandibular vein
    ulnar vein, vena ulnaris
    any of several veins of the forearm
    umbilical vein, vena umbilicalis
    a vein in the umbilical cord; returns nutrient blood from the placenta to the fetus
    uterine vein
    one of two veins on each side that arise from the uterine plexus and empty into the internal iliac vein
    varicose vein
    a vein that is permanently dilated; most common in the legs
    vena bulbi penis
    vein of the head of the penis; tributary of the internal pudendal vein that drains the perineum
    vena canaliculi cochleae
    vein of the cochlear canal
    vein of penis
    a vein serving the penis
    vena bulbi vestibuli
    vein of the vestibular bulb
    vena cava
    either of two large veins that return oxygen-depleted blood to the right atrium of the heart
    venae palpebrales
    veins of the eyelids
    venae interlobulares hepatis
    interlobular veins of the liver
    venae renis
    veins of the kidney; drain the kidney into the renal vein
    vena vertebralis, vertebral vein
    a vein that goes through the foramina of the cervical vertebrae and forms a plexus around the vertebral artery; empties into the brachiocephalic vein
    vena vesicalis, vesical vein
    veins that drain the vesical plexus and join the internal iliac veins
    vena vestibularis, vestibular vein
    veins that drain the saccule and utricle
    vena vorticosum, vortex vein, vorticose vein
    a vein formed by branches from the back surface of the eye and the ciliary body; empties into the ophthalmic veins
    capillary vein, venula, venule
    a minute vein continuous with a capillary
    anterior cardinal vein
    a major drainage channel from the cephalic part of the body
    posterior cardinal vein
    a major drainage channel from the caudal part of the body
    common cardinal vein
    the major return channels to the heart; formed by anastomosis of the anterior and posterior cardinal veins
    anterior cerebral vein, vena cerebri anterior
    accompanies the anterior cerebral artery and empties into the basal vein
    anterior facial vein, vena facialis anterior
    a continuation of the angular vein; unites with the retromandibular vein before emptying into the internal jugular vein
    great cerebral vein, vena cerebri magna
    a cerebral vein formed by the two internal cerebral veins and continuing into the sinus rectus
    inferior cerebral vein, venae cerebrum inferior
    veins that drain the undersurface of the cerebral hemispheres and empty into the cavernous and transverse sinuses
    internal cerebral vein, vena cerebrum internus
    two paired veins passing caudally near the midline and uniting to form the great cerebral vein
    middle cerebral vein, vena cerebri media
    either of two cerebral veins
    superior cerebral vein, vena cerebrum superior
    a cerebral vein that drains the dorsal convexity of the cerebral hemisphere and empties into the cavernous sinus
    circumflex iliac vein, vena circumflexa ilium
    accompanies the artery of the same name
    circumflex femoral vein, vena circumflexus femoris
    either of two veins that accompany arteries of the same name serving the hip and thigh
    inferior epigastric vein, vena epigastrica inferior
    empties into the external iliac vein
    superficial epigastric vein, vena epigastrica superficialis
    empties into the great saphenous vein
    superior epigastric veins, venae epigastricae superiores
    veins that accompany the superior epigastric artery
    episcleral veins, venae episclerales
    small veins in the sclera near the corneal margin; empty into the anterior ciliary veins
    hypogastric vein, internal iliac vein
    a vein that unites with the external iliac vein to form the common iliac vein
    external iliac vein
    a continuation of the femoral vein; unites with the internal iliac vein to form the common iliac vein
    common iliac vein
    formed by the internal and external iliac veins; unites with its fellow from the opposite side of the body to form the inferior vena cava
    anterior jugular vein
    arises below the chin from veins draining the lower face; joins the external jugular vein
    external jugular vein
    formed by the junction of the posterior auricular and the retromandibular veins; empties into the subclavian vein
    internal jugular vein
    a continuation of the sigmoid sinus of the dura mater; joins the subclavian vein to form the brachiocephalic vein
    inferior labial vein, vena labialis inferior
    a tributary of the facial vein that drains the lower lip
    superior labial vein, vena labialis superior
    a tributary of the facial vein that drains the upper lip
    left gastric vein, vena gastrica sinistra
    arises from a union of veins from the gastric cardia; runs in the lesser omentum; empties into the portal vein
    inferior ophthalmic vein
    a vein that drains a venous network in the floor and medial wall of the eye socket
    superior ophthalmic vein
    a vein that begins at the inner angle of the eye socket and passes through the superior orbital fissure to empty into the cavernous sinus
    inferior pulmonary vein, vena pulmanalis inferior
    either of two pulmonary veins (left and right) returning blood from the inferior lobes of the lungs
    superior pulmonary vein, vena pulmonalis superior
    either of two pulmonary veins (left and right) returning blood from the superior lobes of the lungs
    pyloric vein, right gastric vein, vena gastrica-dextra
    receives veins from the upper surfaces of the stomach and empties into the portal vein
    posterior facial vein, retromandibular vein, vena retromandibularis
    posterior branch of the facial vein; formed by temporal veins in front of the ear
    great saphenous vein, long saphenous vein
    the longest vein in the body; runs from foot to the groin where it joins the femoral vein
    short saphenous vein
    a vein running from the foot up the back of the leg to the knee
    stellate venule
    a star-shaped group of venules in the renal cortex
    deep temporal vein
    temporal veins that empty into the pterygoid plexus
    middle temporal vein
    arises near the eye; joins the superficial temporal veins to form the retromandibular vein
    superficial temporal vein
    join the middle temporal vein to empty into the retromandibular vein
    superior thalamostriate vein
    a long vein that helps to form the internal cerebral vein
    inferior thalamostriate vein, striate vein
    tributaries to the basal vein
    inferior thyroid vein
    any of several veins on each side that drain the thyroid gland and empty into the innominate vein
    middle thyroid vein
    a vein on each side that drains the lateral part of the thyroid and empties into the internal jugular vein
    superior thyroid vein
    a vein on each side that drains the upper part of the thyroid and empties into the internal jugular vein
    venae dorsales penis superficiales
    superficial dorsal veins of the penis; paired tributaries of the external pudendal veins on each side
    venae dorsales penis profunda
    deep dorsal vein of the penis; tributary of the prostatic plexus
    vena profunda penis
    deep vein of the penis; enters the prostatic plexus
    inferior vena cava, postcava
    receives blood from lower limbs and abdominal organs and empties into the posterior part of the right atrium of the heart; formed from the union of the two iliac veins
    precava, superior vena cava
    receives blood from the head and arms and chest and empties into the right atrium of the heart; formed from the azygos and both brachiocephalic veins
    venae profundae clitoridis
    deep veins of the clitoris; join the vesical plexus
    vena dorsalis clitoridis profunda
    deep dorsal vein of the clitoris; tributary of the vesical venous plexus
    venae dorsales clitoridis superficiales
    superficial dorsal veins of the clitoris; tributaries of the external pudendal vein on either side
    venae interlobulares renis
    interlobular veins of the kidney; receive blood from the arcuate vein and empty into the renal veins
    anterior labial veins, venae labiales anteriores
    veins from the labia majora to the external pudendal vein
    posterior labial veins, venae labiales posteriores
    veins that pass posterior from the labia majora to the internal pudendal vein
    type of:
    blood vessel
    a vessel in which blood circulates
  2. noun
    any of the vascular bundles or ribs that form the branching framework of conducting and supporting tissues in a leaf or other plant organ
    synonyms: nervure
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    types:
    midrib, midvein
    the vein in the center of a leaf
    type of:
    fibrovascular bundle, vascular bundle, vascular strand
    a unit strand of the vascular system in stems and leaves of higher plants consisting essentially of xylem and phloem
  3. noun
    a layer of ore between layers of rock
    synonyms: mineral vein
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    types:
    bonanza
    an especially rich vein of precious ore
    type of:
    formation, geological formation
    (geology) the geological features of the earth
  4. noun
    one of the horny ribs that stiffen and support the wing of an insect
    synonyms: nervure
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    type of:
    rib
    a riblike supporting or strengthening part of an animal or plant
  5. noun
    a distinctive style or manner
    “he continued in this vein for several minutes”
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    type of:
    expressive style, style
    a way of expressing something (in language or art or music etc.) that is characteristic of a particular person or group of people or period
  6. verb
    make a veinlike pattern
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    type of:
    stain
    color with a liquid dye or tint
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