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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ I wonder what happened to the paper hymen on the toilet. l check my hair in the mirror.
▪ Some see in it the girdle ot hymen and the promise of the immaculate conception of a Messiah.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hymen \Hy"men\, n. [Gr. "ymh`n skin, membrane.] (Anat.) A fold of muscous membrane often found at the orifice of the vagina in virgins; the vaginal membrane. It is usually torn by sexual intercourse.


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.

    Till Hymen brought his love-delighted hour, There dwelt no joy in Eden's rosy bower.

  2. Marriage; union as if by marriage.

    Hymen of element and race.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1580s, Greek god of marriage, represented as a youth carrying a torch and a veil, perhaps etymologically "the joiner," literally "the one who sews" (two together); see hymen.


1610s, from French hymen (16c.), from medical Latin, ultimately from Greek hymen "membrane (especially 'virginal membrane,' the membrane par excellence); thin skin," from PIE *syu-men-, from root *syu- "to bind, sew" (see sew). Originally any membrane; present specific meaning begins with Vesalius in the 1555 edition of De humani corporis fabrica. Apparently not directly connected to Hymen, the god of marriage, but sharing the same root and supposed to be related in folk etymology.


n. (context anatomy English) A mucous membrane which completely or partially occludes the vaginal opening in human females.

Hymen (god)

Hymen , Hymenaios or Hymenaeus, in ancient Greece, was a god of marriage ceremonies, inspiring feasts and song. Related to the god's name, a hymenaios is a genre of Greek lyric poetry sung during the procession of the bride to the groom's house in which the god is addressed, in contrast to the Epithalamium, which was sung at the nuptial threshold. He was one of the winged love gods, Erotes.

He was the son of a muse, Clio or Calliope or Urania or Terpsichore.


The hymen is a membrane that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening. It forms part of the vulva, or external genitalia, and is similar in structure to the vagina. The hymen does not seem to have a specific physiological function or purpose. In children, although a common appearance of the hymen is crescent-shaped, many shapes are possible. Normal variations of the hymen range from thin and stretchy to thick and somewhat rigid; or it may also be completely absent.

The hymen often, though not always, rips or tears the first time a female engages in penetrative intercourse, which may cause some temporary bleeding and slight discomfort. The hymen can also stretch or tear as a result of various other behaviors; for example, it may be lacerated by disease, injury, medical examination, masturbation or physical exercise. The hymen does not regenerate itself after it is torn, but may be surgically restored in a procedure called hymenorrhaphy. For these reasons, the state of the hymen is not a conclusive indicator of virginity, though it continues to be used for that purpose in some traditional societies.

Hymen (disambiguation)

The hymen is a fold of mucous membrane which surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening.

Hymen may also refer to:

  • Hymen (god), a god of marriage ceremonies in Greek mythology
  • Hymen Records, an imprint of the record label Ant-Zen

People named Hymen:

  • Frederic Hymen Cowen (1852–1935), British pianist, conductor and composer
  • Hymen Lipman (19th century), American inventor
  • Slymenstra Hymen (born 1966), female dancer and occasional vocalist of the heavy metal band Gwar

Category:Masculine given names

Usage examples of "hymen".

The hymen was not intact, and abrasions along the vaginal wall were visible.

Lacerations of the urethra from urethral coitus in instances of vaginal atresia or imperforate hymen may also excite serious hemorrhage.

No doubt the arrangement was made without difficulty, for our hymen took place the same evening, but no sooner was the operation completed than the poor lamb fled away in hot haste, which made me suspect that her father had used rather forcible persuasion with her.

Tolberg has an example of hymen integrum after the birth of a fetus five months old, and there is recorded a case of tubal pregnancy in which the hymen was intact.

After this rapid dialogue we took breakfast, and then, perfectly agreed, we went to bed, rather as if we were about to sacrifice to Hymen than to love.

The operation consists in dividing the hymen by a crucial incision, thus allowing the accumulated fluid to be discharged, after which the vagina is cleansed by syringing it with warm water.

Colzi reports a case in which the left ureter opened externally at the left side of the hymen a little below the normal meatus urinarius.

Roe gives a case of conception in an imperforate uterus, and Duncan relates the history of a case of pregnancy in an unruptured hymen, characterized by an extraordinary ascent of the uterus.

The little hussar immediately felt himself in excellent voice and the pink-lit sitting-room was filled with a positive hurricane of gorgeous sound as Shervinsky sang an epithalamion to the god Hymen - how he sang!

Zacchias, Amand, Fabricius Hildanus, Graaf, the discoverer of the follicles that bear his name, Borellus, Blegny, Blanchard, Diemerbroeck, Duddell, Mauriceau, a Reyes, Riolan, Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, Wolfius, Walther, Rongier, Ruysch, Forestus, Ephemerides, and Schurig all mention cases of conception with intact hymen, and in which there was no entrance of the penis.

Expectant, therefore, she watched the one glowing cheek of Hymen, and with pleasing tremours beheld a cab of many boxes draw up by her bit of garden, and a gentleman emerge from it in the set of consulting an advertisement paper.

The state of the breasts, the hymen, and the os uteri, should all be carefully examined.

You shall see that, if Hymen likes to die in order to get rid of life, Love on the contrary expires only to spring up again into existence, and hastens to revive, so as to savour new enjoyment.

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