Loin Meaning

The loin is the body part between the upper part of the hipbone and the last piece of the false ribs that are present on either side of the backbone in an animal. This term has been derived from how the butchers refer to the meat cut from this part of the body. When used in plural form, it refers to the lower part of the body at the junction with the legs in the loin anatomy of humans. The term is also used synonymously with flank which is the body part bounded by the lower ribs, the pelvis, and the backbone.

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Loin Human Anatomy

Loin anatomy in humans is different from that in animals. In humans, the term "loin" or "loins" refers to the portion of the body below the rib cage and just above the pelvis. This term is frequently used for the segment below the ribs. Sometimes loin human anatomy is also described as including the groin, genitals, hips, and lower abdomen region. This description is used not just in humans but also in some other primates and four-legged mammals like cattle and horses. Although the term ‘loin’ is not a scientific term it is used in some medical disorders. 


The loin anatomy of humans also covers the portion of the body where the lumbar region of the spinal column is located. The lumbar vertebrae (L1-L5) are also present in the loin area. Since this part of the body carries most of the weight, it becomes the location for back pains. This region also has the psoas muscle, a large muscle that is used at the time of bending down or sitting up. It is also used in hip movements. 


Beef Tenderloin Anatomy

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A beef tenderloin, also known as an eye fillet in Australia and the neighbouring regions, as filet in France, UK, and South Africa, and Filet Mignon in Brazil, is the cut from the loin of beef. As with all other four-legged mammals, the tenderloin in beef refers to the psoas major muscle. This muscle near the kidneys is ventral to the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae.


The tenderloin anatomy can be described as an oblong shape that covers two primal cuts: the short loin (also called the sirloin) and the sirloin (also called the rump). The tenderloin is located next to the backbone and beneath the ribs. It has two ends: the tail and the butt. The tail is the smaller and pointed end which starts a little past the ribs. It becomes thicker until it ends in the primal cut "sirloin" closer to the buttocks of the cow. Since this muscle is not involved in strenuous activities, it is the most tender part of beef.  


Loin in Butchery

The portion of meat below the rib cage, and above the round (when an animal carcass is hanging from the head end) is referred to as loin by the butchers. Various names of meat parts butchered from the loin segment of pork and cattle also include the suffix  ‘loin’ and are called sirloin and tenderloin. In beef, the upper part of the loin is called “surloin,” or “sirloin.”


In America, the loin portion from the top half of cattle is divided into three segments and these cuts are called sirloin, tenderloin, top sirloin, and short loin. These names have been given based on the different parts of the cattle where they are cut from. In British culture, the corresponding set of muscles are called ‘rump’.


According to culinary professionals, tenderloin is the most tender beef cut and this is why it is immensely popular among food lovers. It is the meat used in the famous dish fillet mignon. People who prefer to eat low-fat meats, also prefer tenderloin since it is low on fats. 


Loin Pain

Sometimes, pain is experienced in the loin region and it is related to kidney problems such as kidney stones, renal colic which is a ureter-related problem as the nerves from the ureter enter the spinal cord located in the lumbar region. Other reasons for pain in the loin region are herpes zoster, injuries to the vertebrae or muscles in the lumbar region, and radiculitis, which is nerve pain that affects the sciatic nerve.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is the Term Loin Used in Medicine?

Ans. The term loin is not a scientific term but is used in certain medical disorders like loin pain hematuria syndrome. This syndrome has two main symptoms: blood in the urine and pain in the loins and blood in the urine. The reason behind the pain in this syndrome is still unknown but it is believed to be related to the kidneys. 

2. How Did the Term ‘Loin’ Originate?

Ans. The term loin originated from the Latin word lumbus, which referred to the general loin area and also included the genitals. This word is often used as a euphemism to describe both female and male reproductive organs. It is used in the English language to sometimes refer to things related to the genitals. For example:


The ‘fruit’ of my loins refers to one’s offspring, the ‘loincloth’ is a piece of garment used to cover the genital area and ‘gird up your loins’ which means to prepare for action. 

3. What are the Three Main Cuts of Tenderloin?

Ans. The three main cuts in a tenderloin are the butt, the tail, and the centre-cut. Carpaccio is generally made with since the eye segment can be too large for it. If you cut a whole tenderloin into steaks of equal weight, you can get very thin steaks from the butt end. The centre-cut of the tenderloin is ideal for portion-controlled steaks. In this cut, the diameter of the eye remains consistent as compared to the other cuts. The centre-cut is also used in the traditional tenderloin steak, Chateaubriand steak, beef Wellington and the filet mignon. The tail cut is not suitable for steaks because of its inconsistent size and is generally used in recipes such as beef Stroganoff that require small pieces of a tender cut.