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Human loins, on the side of the rib cage and pelvis

The loins are the sides between the lower ribs and pelvis, and the lower part of the back.[1][2][3] It is often used when describing the anatomy of humans and quadrupeds (such as horses,[4][5] pigs[6][7] or cattle[8]). The anatomical reference also carries over into the description of cuts of meat from some such animals, eg. tenderloin or sirloin steak.[2]


Human anatomical term

In human anatomy the term "loin" or "loins" refers to the side of the human body below the rib cage to just below the pelvis.[1] It is frequently used to reference the general area below the ribs. While the term "loin" is generally not used in medical science,[9] some disorders do contain it.[10]

The lumbar region of the spinal column is located in the loin area of the body.[11]

The spinal column consists of five regions: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal. That means "lumbar" is the third region.

Euphemism for human genitals

The term also has become euphemistic for human genitals[1][2] due to their prominence in that anatomical region. Because of this euphemistic use of the term, the article of clothing that is worn around the genital area has been named a loincloth.[12]

In the Authorized King James Version of the Christian Bible the term "loins" is used frequently. It is suggested that the "loins" is the minimum one must cover on their body to be respectful of the law.[13][14] This suggests that if a man (or possibly woman as well) covers up just their genital area, they are considered clothed enough for public life. Frequently the expression "fruit of his loins" is used to refer to children.[15] Such a "fruit of my loins" reference is also made in the King James Version.[16]

It is also used as a term for the general lower area of the body[17] much like the term "below the belt" references the area below where the average person would wear a belt.[18]

The term "gird your loins" was used in the Roman Era meaning to pull up and tie your lower garments between your legs to increase your mobility in battle. In the modern age, it has become an idiom meaning to prepare yourself for the worst.[19]

Loins in butchery

When a carcass is butchered, it is divided into many sections

Butchers frequently refer to the section of meat below the rib cage, yet above the round as loin. Various names of meats further butchered from the loin section of cattle and pork[20] contain the name "loin" such as tenderloin and sirloin. In American culinary arts[21] the loin section of meat from the top half of cattle is divided into three sections.[22] The various cuts of beef from this section are named sirloin, tenderloin, top sirloin, and short loin[23] They are named for their respective parts on the cattle. In England's culinary art system, the loin section of beef is generally only registered as one part, instead of the American three.[citation needed] While the many sections of loin are available in England, it is generally considered one cut.

It has been suggested by many[24][25] culinary professionals that tenderloin is the most tender cut of beef one can get.[26] The loin section of beef is fairly popular among consumers for its low fat qualities.[20] It is also the source of the highly desirable filet mignon.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c "loin". Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  2. ^ a b c "loin". Compact Oxford English dictionary of current English. London: Oxford U.P. 2005. ISBN 0-19-861022-X. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  3. ^ "Surface Anatomy of the Back - Human Anatomy". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  4. ^ "Body Parts of the Horse". Gaited Horses. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  5. ^ "Parts of the Horse Clickable Image - Parts of the Horse The Loin". 2009-11-02. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  6. ^ "Pork Tenderloin". All Recipes. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  7. ^ "Do You Know the Parts of Your Pet Pig?". United Pet Pig Registry, Inc. Retrieved 2008-08-13.  extracted from Reeves, David E.; H. Neil Becker and American Association of Swine Practitioners (1993). Care and management of miniature pet pigs: guidelines for the veterinary practitioner. Santa Barbara, California: Veterinary Practice Pub. Co. ISBN 0-9603534-3-7. 
  8. ^ "Recipes - Roast Beef Tenderloin".,1-0,roast_beef_tenderloin,FF.html. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  9. ^ "Loin definition - Medical Dictionary definitions of popular medical terms easily defined on MedTerms". 1998-03-26. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  10. ^ "Loin Pain Hematuria Syndrome". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  11. ^ "Anatomy - Lumbar Spine". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  12. ^ "WiseGeek". What is a Loincloth?. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  13. ^ "BibleTab". Loincloth. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  14. ^ "Bible-History". Word Looking: Loins. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  15. ^ "TheFreeDictionary Idoms Collection". Fruit of [his\my] Loins. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  16. ^ "ScriptureText". Acts 2:30. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  17. ^ "GraceCathedral". Sermon Exserpts. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  18. ^ "". Phrase Meanings: Below the Belt. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  19. ^ Cooper, John D. (2005). "Gird Your Loins With Truth". Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  20. ^ a b Rattray, Diana. "Pork Tenderloin Recipes". Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  21. ^ "Beef Cuts Illustrated - North American".!openframeset&frame=Right&Src=/edible.nsf/pages/northamericanbeefcutsillustrated!opendocument. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  22. ^ "GourmetSleuth". Guide to Beef Cuts. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  23. ^ "FoodSubs". Beef Loins. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  24. ^ "AskTheMeatMan". Beef Cuts. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  25. ^ "OhioSignature". Types of Beef Cuts. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  26. ^ "Steak: Grades & Cuts - Know what beef to buy". 2009-10-30. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 

1911 encyclopedia

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