(1) The first part of the small intestine. The duodenum extends from the pylorus at the bottom of the stomach to the jejunum, the second part of the small intestine. The duodenum is a common site for the formation of peptic ulcers. We often live with words without thinking where they come from or what they originally meant. That is the case for me with the duodenum. For decades, this writer knew the duodenum as a short but troubled sector of the small intestine. Only today did I learn that the duodenum began as the dodeka-daktulon, twelve fingers to the Greeks, who astutely observed that the duodenum is about 12 finger-breadths long. In German, the popular term for duodenum is Zwölffingerdarm, the 12-finger intestine.
(2) The first or proximal portion of the small intestine, extending from the pylorus to the jejunum, so called because it is about 12 fingerbreadths in length.
Origin: L. Duodeni = twelve at a time The part of the small intestine between the stomach and the jejunum.Part of the small intestine that is connected to the stomach, this is the area of the digestive system that completes most of the food breakdown passed on from the stomach. Enzymes promote the breakdown of foodstuffs in the duodenum, while the large surface area that it presents allows large scale absorption of materials into the bloodstream.