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Vein vs. Artery — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on November 1, 2023
Veins carry blood to the heart, usually deoxygenated, while arteries carry blood away from the heart, typically oxygenated.
Vein vs. Artery — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Vein and Artery

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Key Differences

Veins are blood vessels that carry blood towards the heart. Most veins carry deoxygenated blood from the tissues back to the heart; exceptions include the pulmonary and umbilical veins. Arteries, in contrast, transport blood away from the heart. They carry oxygenated blood to various parts of the body, with the exception of the pulmonary artery.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023
The structure of veins includes thinner walls and larger lumens compared to arteries. Veins often have valves to prevent backflow of blood, accommodating the lower pressure and assisting the return of blood to the heart. Arteries are characterized by thick, muscular, and elastic walls that help them withstand and regulate the pressure exerted by the heart's pumping action.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023
In terms of their functions, veins act as a reservoir for blood and control blood pressure by regulating the volume of blood returning to the heart. Arteries, given their robust structure, help maintain the pressure of the blood as it travels through the body and delivers essential nutrients and oxygen.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023
The blood in veins is usually darker due to the lower oxygen content, while arterial blood is bright red because of the high oxygen content. Clinically, veins are often used for intravenous injections and blood sampling, whereas arteries can be sites for measuring pulse and blood pressure.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023
When referencing veins and arteries in a non-medical context, veins can symbolize a distinctive quality or characteristic, and arteries can represent essential pathways or methods of distribution in a system.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Direction of blood flow

Toward the heart
Away from the heart
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Nov 01, 2023

Type of blood

Usually deoxygenated (except pulmonary)
Usually oxygenated (except pulmonary)
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Nov 01, 2023

Wall structure

Thinner walls, less muscle
Thicker walls, more muscle
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Nov 01, 2023

Presence of valves

Yes, to prevent backflow
No, not typically
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Nov 01, 2023

Pressure

Lower pressure
Higher pressure
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Nov 01, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Vein

A vessel carrying blood to the heart.
The nurse inserted a needle into the patient's vein for the IV.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Artery

A major route of transportation.
The new highway is the main artery into the city.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Vein

A layer of ore or mineral.
Miners discovered a rich vein of gold in the shaft.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Artery

A route for conveying something vital.
The river acted as an artery for trade.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Vein

Veins are blood vessels that carry blood towards the heart. Most veins carry deoxygenated blood from the tissues back to the heart; exceptions are the pulmonary and umbilical veins, both of which carry oxygenated blood to the heart.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

A vessel carrying blood from the heart.
Surgeons bypassed the blocked artery.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Vein

Any of the tubes forming part of the blood circulation system of the body, carrying in most cases oxygen-depleted blood towards the heart.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

An artery (plural arteries) (from Greek ἀρτηρία (artēríā) 'windpipe, artery') is a blood vessel that takes blood away from the heart to one or more parts of the body (tissues, lungs, brain etc.). Most arteries carry oxygenated blood; the two exceptions are the pulmonary and the umbilical arteries, which carry deoxygenated blood to the organs that oxygenate it (lungs and placenta, respectively).
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A fracture in rock containing a deposit of minerals or ore and typically having an extensive course underground
Gold-bearing quartz veins
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Mar 15, 2020

Artery

Any of the muscular-walled tubes forming part of the circulation system by which blood (mainly that which has been oxygenated) is conveyed from the heart to all parts of the body.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A distinctive quality, style, or tendency
He closes his article in a somewhat humorous vein
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

An important route in a system of roads, rivers, or railway lines
George Street, main artery of Edinburgh's Golden Mile
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

(Anatomy) Any of the membranous tubes that form a branching system and carry blood to the heart from the cells, tissues, and organs of the body.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

(Anatomy) Any of the muscular elastic tubes that form a branching system and that carry blood away from the heart to the cells, tissues, and organs of the body.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A blood vessel of any kind; a vein or artery
Felt the blood pounding in her veins.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

A major route of transportation into which local routes flow
Traffic was heavy on the central artery.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

Something that looks like a blood vessel, such as the hindgut of a shrimp.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

(anatomy) Any of the muscular- and elastic-walled blood vessels forming part of the circulation system by which blood is conveyed away from the heart regardless of its oxygenation status; see pulmonary artery.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

(Botany) One of the strands of vascular tissue that form the conducting and supporting framework in a leaf or other expanded plant organ. Also called nervure.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

(transport) A major transit corridor in a system of roads, rivers, or railway lines.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

(Zoology) One of the thickened cuticular ribs that form the supporting network of the wing of an insect and that often carry hemolymph. Also called nervure.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

The trachea or windpipe.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

(Geology) A regularly shaped and lengthy occurrence of an ore; a lode.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

One of the vessels or tubes which carry either venous or arterial blood from the heart. They have tricker and more muscular walls than veins, and are connected with them by capillaries.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A long wavy strip of a different shade or color, as in wood or marble, or as mold in cheese.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

Hence: Any continuous or ramified channel of communication; as, arteries of trade or commerce.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A fissure, crack, or cleft.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

A blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A pervading character or quality; a streak
"All through the interminable narrative there ran a vein of impressive earnestness" (Mark Twain).
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Mar 15, 2020

Artery

A major thoroughfare that bears important traffic
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A transient attitude or mood.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

A principal channel, route, or avenue.
Information flowed through the internet, a digital artery.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Vein

A particular turn of mind
Spoke later in a more serious vein.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Artery

A key structural element in an organization or system.
Communication is the artery of effective management.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Vein

To supply or fill with veins.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

To mark or decorate with veins.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

(anatomy) A blood vessel that transports blood from the capillaries back to the heart.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

(in plural) The entrails of a shrimp.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

(botany) In leaves, a thickened portion of the leaf containing the vascular bundle.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

(zoology) The nervure of an insect’s wing.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A stripe or streak of a different colour or composition in materials such as wood, cheese, marble or other rocks.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

(geology) A sheetlike body of crystallized minerals within a rock.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

(figurative) A topic of discussion; a train of association, thoughts, emotions, etc.
In the same vein
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Mar 15, 2020

Vein

(figurative) A style, tendency, or quality.
The play is in a satirical vein.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A fissure, cleft, or cavity, as in the earth or other substance.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

To mark with veins or a vein-like pattern.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

One of the vessels which carry blood, either venous or arterial, to the heart. See Artery, 2.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

One of the similar branches of the framework of a leaf.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

One of the ribs or nervures of the wings of insects. See Venation.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A narrow mass of rock intersecting other rocks, and filling inclined or vertical fissures not corresponding with the stratification; a lode; a dike; - often limited, in the language of miners, to a mineral vein or lode, that is, to a vein which contains useful minerals or ores.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A fissure, cleft, or cavity, as in the earth or other substance.
Let the glass of the prisms be free from veins.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A streak or wave of different color, appearing in wood, and in marble and other stones; variegation.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A train of associations, thoughts, emotions, or the like; a current; a course; as, reasoning in the same vein.
He can open a vein of true and noble thinking.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

Peculiar temper or temperament; tendency or turn of mind; a particular disposition or cast of genius; humor; strain; quality; also, manner of speech or action; as, a rich vein of humor; a satirical vein.
Certain discoursing wits which are of the same veins.
Invoke the Muses, and improve my vein.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

To form or mark with veins; to fill or cover with veins.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A blood vessel that carries blood from the capillaries toward the heart; all veins except the pulmonary carry unaerated blood
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A distinctive style or manner;
He continued in this vein for several minutes
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

Any of the vascular bundles or ribs that form the branching framework of conducting and supporting tissues in a leaf or other plant organ
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A layer of ore between layers of rock
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

One of the horny ribs that stiffen and support the wing of an insect
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

Make a veinlike pattern
Fiza Rafique
Mar 15, 2020

Vein

A distinctive quality or character.
His speech had a vein of humor throughout.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Vein

A natural channel within a leaf or a wing.
Insects have a complex network of veins in their wings.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Vein

A state of mood or temperament.
She wrote the letter in an angry vein.
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Nov 01, 2023

Common Curiosities

What is a vein?

A vein is a blood vessel that carries blood toward the heart.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Can veins become varicose?

Yes, when valves in veins become weak or damaged, they can become varicose.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Do veins carry oxygenated blood?

Typically no, except for the pulmonary and umbilical veins.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Why are veins blue?

Veins appear blue due to the way light penetrates the skin and is absorbed and reflected by the blood vessels.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Why are arteries not visible like veins?

Arteries are located deeper in the body and have thicker walls.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

What is the largest vein in the body?

The vena cava is the largest vein in the body.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Can arteries get clogged?

Yes, arteries can get clogged, leading to cardiovascular diseases.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

How are veins used medically?

Veins are often used for IV injections and blood sampling.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

What is an artery?

An artery is a blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Do arteries carry deoxygenated blood?

Typically no, except for the pulmonary artery.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Are veins or arteries more elastic?

Arteries are more elastic to withstand the pressure from the heart.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Do veins have valves?

Yes, most veins have valves to prevent backflow.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

What is the largest artery in the body?

The aorta is the largest artery in the body.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

How do arteries affect blood pressure?

Arteries maintain and regulate blood pressure due to their muscular walls.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

Are artery walls thicker than vein walls?

Yes, artery walls are thicker and more muscular than those of veins.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 01, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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