[kloh-ey-kuh] /kloʊˈeɪ kə/

noun, plural cloacae
[kloh-ey-see] /kloʊˈeɪ si/ (Show IPA)

a sewer, especially an ancient sewer.
noun (pl) -cae (-kiː)
a cavity in the pelvic region of most vertebrates, except higher mammals, and certain invertebrates, into which the alimentary canal and the genital and urinary ducts open
a sewer

1650s, euphemism for “underground sewer,” from Latin cloaca “public sewer, drain,” from cluere “to cleanse,” from PIE root *kleue- “to wash, clean” (cf. Greek klyzein “to dash over, wash off, rinse out,” klysma “liquid used in a washing;” Lithuanian šluoju “to sweep;” Old English hlutor, Gothic hlutrs, Old High German hlutar, German lauter “pure, clear”). Use in biology, in reference to eliminatory systems of lower animals, is from 1834. Related: Cloacal (1650s); cloacinal (1857).

cloaca clo·a·ca (klō-ā’kə)

clo·a’cal (-kəl) adj.
Plural cloacae (klō-ā’sē’)


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