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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Aorta \A*or"ta\, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ?, fr. ? to lift, heave.] (Anat.) The great artery which carries the blood from the heart to all parts of the body except the lungs; the main trunk of the arterial system. [1913 Webster] Note: In fishes and the early stages of all higher vertebrates the aorta divides near its origin into several branches (the aortic arches) which pass in pairs round the [oe]sophagus and unite to form the systemic aorta. One or more pairs of these arches persist in amphibia and reptiles, but only one arch in birds and mammals, this being on the right side in the former, and on the left in the latter. [1913 Webster] [1913 Webster]