A shunt is a small tube that goes inside the body to drain fluid. It also means to divert in a general way, like if you shunt the thought of tubes in your body, you think about rainbows and kittens instead.

Although shunt usually refers to a tube that drains blood or other fluid out of a part of the body, shunt also means to bypass. If a train is shunted, it’s diverted from the main track onto a side track. The word may have come from shun, as in “turn away,” which is what a shunt essentially does. It turns something away from where it was headed.

Definitions of shunt
  1. noun

    a conductor having low resistance in parallel with another device to divert a fraction of the current

    bypass, electrical shunt
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    a device designed to transmit electricity, heat, etc.

  2. noun

    a passage by which a bodily fluid (especially blood) is diverted from one channel to another

    “an arteriovenus
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    a surgically created shunt (usually around a damaged part)
    portacaval shunt

    shunt that is created surgically between the portal vein and the inferior vena cava so that blood from the abdominal organs can bypass the liver
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    passage, passageway

    a path or channel or duct through or along which something may pass

  3. noun

    implant consisting of a tube made of plastic or rubber; for draining fluids within the body

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    a prosthesis placed permanently in tissue

  4. verb

    transfer to another track, of trains

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    shift, transfer

    move around

  5. verb

    provide with or divert by means of an electrical shunt

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    cause to turn away from a previous or expected course

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