Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation:
Opus III: Nervous System: Glossary of Terms
Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus III:
Glossary of Terms
Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
Their origin and definition related to the Nervous System.
The following abbreviations are used: G., Greek; H., Hebrew; and
A| B| C| D |
E | F| G | H | I | J | K | L|
M| N| O|
P| Q | R| S|
T| U| V| W | X
| Y | Z
(L. abducere, to move away). The abducens nerve supplies the lateral rectus
muscle which draws the pupil of the eye away from the midline.
(L. alveolaris, hollow). e.g., anterior superior alveolar nerve.
(L. anus, anal orifice, from Sanskrit, to sit). e.g., nerve to external
(L. ansa, handle). Shaped like a loop or arc, e.g, ansa cervicalis.
(L. auricula, little ear). Pertaining to the external ear.
(L. auricula, little ear +tempora, temples). Pertaining to the nerve supply
to the external ear and temporal region.
(L. axis alae, axle of the wing). Axillary nerve (named by Winslow).
(L. brachium, G. brachion, arm). Pertaining to the nerves of the arm.
(L. bucca, cheek; H. bukkah, empty or hollow). Pertaining to the nerves
of the cheek.
(L. cervix, neck). The nerves of the neck.
(L. cilium, eyelash). The ciliary ganglion and ciliary nerves.
(L. dura, hard or tough)The outer of the three membranous coverings of the
(L. femor, thigh). Also suggested is the origin from feo, to be fruitful,
due to some relationship between the thighs and sex oe the bearing of children.
(L. furca, fork). Fourth lumbar nerve, so named because of its division,
with one part contributing to the lumbar plexus and the other to the lumbosacral
plexus. By definition, the third and fifth lumbar nerves may also be furacl
(L. Lacrimal, tear). A nerve supplying the lacrimal gland.
( G. larynx, upper part of the windpipe). Pertaining to the nerves of the
(L. lumbus, loin). Lumbar plexus and lumbar spinal nerves.
(L. lumbus, loin + sacrum, sacred). The lumbosacral plexus of nerves.
(L. orbis, circle). Pertaining to the orbit. The use of the word for the
socket of the eye first appeared in a translation of the Canon of Avicenna
by Gerard of Cremona.
(L. palatum, palate). The palatine nerves.
(L. pectus, breast or chest). An old term for an ornamental plate, cloth,
or other decoration worn on the breast. It was also used for medicines that
were food for afflictions of the chest. In this case, referring to the nerves
supplying the pectoral region.
(G. perone, pin or broach, anything pointed for piercing or pinning, fibula).
Pertaining to nerves of the leg.
(L. phrenicus, diaphragm; G. phren, mind) Pertaining to the mind; pertaining
to the diaphragm and to the nerves supplying the diaphragm.
(L. plexus, braid). Fallopius described the brachial plexus as a "tangle
of nerves" in the arm.
(L. pudere, to be ashamed). Pudendal nerve is the nerve of the "shameful
parts" (i.e., genitals), which modesty requires should be covered.
(L. radius, spoke of a wheel). The radial nerve is a motor and sensory nerve
that supplies the dorsal aspect of the arm, forearm, and hand.
(L. scapula, shoulder blade). Originally derived from Greek, to dig, because
it somewhat resembles a digging instrument such as a spade.
(L. sciaticus, subject to pain in the loins; from G. ischiadikos, hip joint,
hip, or loins). Sciatic nerve, the largest peripheral nerve of the body.
(G. sphen, wedge + G. eidos, form). Wedge-shaped.
(G. sphinkter, that which binds tight), E.g., sphincter ani.
(G. splanchnon, viscus). The splanchnic nerves or nerves to the viscera.
(L. stella, a star). Stellate ganglion.
(L. sub, under +clavis, key). Petaining to any structure beneath the clavicle.
(L. sura, calf of leg). Sural nerve.
(G. thorax, chest). Thoracic spinal nerves.
(L. tibia, pipe or flute). Tibial nerve.
(L. tri, three + geminus, twin). The name was coined by Winslow because
the nerve has three divisions.
(G. trochila, pulley or block). Resembling a pulley. The superior oblique
muscle supplied by the trochlear nerve was originally called the trochlear
muscle. This muscle has a pulley through which it operates.
(L. ulna, elbow). The ulnar nerve is a motor and sensory nerve that supplies
the medial side of the forearm an hand.
(L. vagare, to wander). The vagus nerve is a "wanderer" because this parasympathetic
nerve supplies structures in the head, neck, thorax, and abdomen. Pertaining
to its wide distribution to many organs.
(G. zygoma, bolt or bar). Pertaining to the nerves in the region of the
zygoma. The zygomatic bone was named by Galen.
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