AskDefine | Define septum

Dictionary Definition



1 (anatomy) a dividing partition between two tissues or cavities
2 a partition or wall especially in an ovary [also: septa (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


From Latin septum, saeptum, enclosure, hedge, fence, perfect passive participle of sepire, saepire, hedge in, enclose.


  1. A wall separating two cavities; a partition; as, the nasal septum.
    • 2002, Springhouse, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Illustrated Manual of Nursing Practice, page 1158
      Deviated septum, a shift from the midline that commonly occurs in normal growth, is present in most adults.
  2. A partition that separates the cells of a fruit.
  3. a. One of the radial calcareous plates of a coral. b. One of the transverse partitions dividing the shell of a mollusk, or of a rhizopod, into several chambers. c. One of the transverse partitions dividing the body cavity of an annelid.


wall separating two cavities in anatomy



Perfect passive participle of Latin verb sepire, saepire.


  1. enclosure, hedge, fence


Usage notes

Second declension noun. Variant form of saepta.

Extensive Definition

A septum (Latin: something that encloses; plural Septa) is a partition separating two cavities or spaces. Examples include:
  • Nasal septum: the cartilage wall separating the nostrils of the human nose. Often deviated or perforated through physical injury or cocaine abuse.
  • Cephalopod Septa: walls between each chamber, or siphuncle, in shells of nautiloids, ammonites, and belemnites; i.e. cephalopods that retain an external shell.
  • The wall dividing the right side of the heart from the left side.
Fungi produce septa to partition filamentous hyphae into discrete cells.


Histological septa are seen throughout most tissues of the body, particularly where they are needed to stiffen a soft cellular tissue, and they also provide planes of ingress for small blood vessels. Because the dense collagen fibres of a septum usually extend out into the softer adjacent tissues, microscopic fibrous septa are less clearly defined than the macroscopic types of septa listed above. In rare instances, a septum is a cross-wall.
The septum is also found within the chambers of the heart. It provides strength to the walls of the heart and separates the left and right sides of the heart.


In chemistry and other experimental sciences, septa are rubber stoppers which seal flasks or bottles. They are designed to be pierced by a needle or cannula which allows fluids to be transferred. Septa are often used together with Schlenk flasks and Schlenk lines to handle oxygen- or moisture-sensitive materials.

Particle accelerators

Septum magneta and electrostatic septum are two types of septa that can deflect an ejected beam while not affecting the orbiting beam. These devices are used with a circular particle beam accelerator to inject or eject a beam of particles to or from an accelerator.

Brain physiology

Part of the limbic system that regulates emotions and the ability to learn and control impulses as well as such drives as sex, hunger, thirst, aggression, and fear. The septum (or septal nuclei) in the brain is named for its approximate shape (partition). The septum is rich with nicotonic cholinergic receptors.
septum in German: Septum
septum in Polish: Septum
septum in Simple English: Septum
septum in Swedish: Septum

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

barrier, brattice, buffer, buffer state, bulkhead, bumper, cloison, collision mat, cushion, diaphragm, dissepiment, dividing line, dividing wall, division, fender, interseptum, mat, midriff, midsection, pad, panel, paries, partition, party wall, property line, separation, septulum, shock pad, wall
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