Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation:
Part IV: OrganSystem: Glossary of Terms
Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus V:
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 Skeleton.
The following abbreviations are used: G., Greek, and L.,
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
Acromion (G. akron, tip, + omos, shoulder). The tip of the
Alar (L. ala, wing) A wing-like structure.
Arm (L.armus, fore-quarter of an animal; G. harmos, a shoulder
joint). The segment of the upper limb between the shoulder and
elbow. The term brachium (L., G. brachion) is preferred
Aspera (L. asper, rough). The roughened surface of a bone.
Astragalus (L.,G. astragalus, ball of the ankle joint, dice). The
Atlas (G. Atlas, from Greek mythology, a Titan who supported the
world on his shoulders). First cervical vertebra.
Axis (L. axis, axle; G. axon, axis). The odontoid or toothed
vertebra. The second cervical vertebra, about which the head
Bifid (L. bifidus, cleft into two parts). Referring to a bone that
is more or less split or cleft.
Carpal (G. carpus, wrist). The eight bones of the wrist proximal to
Cervical (L. cervix, neck) Relating to the neck and to the "neck" of
any structure (bone or soft tissue).
Clavicle (L. clavicula, a small key). The collar bone, os
Cleido- (G. Kleis, clavicle). Relating to the clavicle.
Clinoid (G. kline, bed, + eidos, form). Bed-shaped or resembling a
Coccyx (G. kokkyx, a cuckoo, whose bill the bony structure is said to
resemble). Os coccygis.
Conchae (L. concha, shell). Turbinate bones of the nose.
Condyle (L. condylus; G. kondylos, knuckle). Rounded articular surface
of a bone extremity.
Costo- (L. costa, rib). Referring to the ribs.
Cubitis (L. cubitus, elbow). Pertaining to the joint between the arm
Dens (L. dens, tooth) Referring to the tooth-like structure of the
axis, upon which the axis rotates.
Dorsal (L. dorsalis, from dorsum, back). Term once used for notation
of vertebra in the thoracic region, e.g., first dorsal
Epistropheus (G. epistropheus, the pivot). Second cervical vertebra.
Ethmoid (G. ethmos, sieve). Relating to the os ethmoidale. A
sieve-like structure, cribriforme.
Femur (L. femur, thigh). The thigh bone.
Fibula (L. fibula, a clasp or buckle). A bone of the leg. The smaller
and more lateral of the two bones of the leg.
Fissura (L. findere, to cleave). A fissure or deep cleft.
Foramen (L. forare, to pierce). An aperture.
Frontal (L. frons, front). Referring to the frontal bone.
Hemi- (G. hemi, half). A prefix indicating half of a structure.
Humerus (L. humerus, shoulder). Referring to the bone of the brachium
or arm (between shoulder and elbow).
Hyoid (G. hyoeides, shaped like the Greek letter upsilon). A "U"- or
"V"-shaped structure. The os hyoideum.
Lacrimal (L. Lacrima, a tear) Relating to tears, their secretion,
organ, and bone involved therewith. The os lacrimale.
Lumbar (L. lumbus, a loin). Referring to the region or those
vertebrae located between the thorax and pelvis.
Lunato- (L. lunatus, semilunar). Pertaining to the os lunatum of the
hand and foot.
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Mandible (L. mandibula, a jaw). The jaw bone.
Manubrium (L. mandibulum, handle). The bone of the upper or superior
part of the sternum.
Mastoid (G. mastos, breast, + eidos, resemblance). Mastoid process of
Maxillary (L. maxilla, jaw bone). Relating to the upper jawbone or
Nasal (L. nasus, nose) Os nasale.
Occipital (L. occiput, back of the head). Os occipitale.
Odontoideum (G. odous, a tooth, + eidos, form). See dens.
Olecranon (G. olene, ulna + kranion). Curved, pointed proximal end of
Omo- (G. omos, shoulder). Related to the shoulder.
Orbital (L. orbita, a circle). Referring to the cavity formed from
parts of seven bones.
Os (L. os, bone). Referring to a bone.
Palatine (L. palatum, palate). Os palatum.
Parietal (L. pares, wall). The wall of any cavity. Os parietale.
Patella (L. patina, a small shallow disk). The kneecap. The large
sesamoid bone in the tendon of the extensors of the leg.
Pelvis (L., G. pyelos, an oblong trough, basin). Ring of bones at the
lower end of the trunk.
Petrosus ( L. petrous, rock-like; G. petra, stone). Petrous part of
Phalanx (L. from G. phalanx, line of soldiers). Bones of the fingers
Pterygo- (G. pteryx, wing) A wing-like structure.
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Radius (L. radius, spoke of a wheel, a rod). The shorter and more
lateral of the two bones of the forearm.
Sacrum (L. sacrum, sacred bone). Os sacrum. So-named because it was
believed to resist natural disintegration after death and to serve
as the basis for the resurrected body.
Scapula (L. scapula, shoulder blade; G. skaptein, to dig) The shoulder
Sinus (L. sinus, cavity, channel, hollow) A cavity in a bone, e.g.,
Sphenoid (G. sphen, wedge, + eidos, resemblance). Os sphenoidale.
Squamous (L. squama, scale or plate-like structure). Squama of temporal
bone, for example.
Sternum (G. sternon, the chest). The breast bone consisting of the
manubrium, body, and xiphoid process.
Styloid (G. stylos, pillar or post). Styloid process of temporal
Supra- (L. supra, above). Prefix denoting a position above the named
structure that follows it, e.g., suprasternal bones.
Suture (L. sutura, a seam, from suere, to sew). A specific type of
joint between two bones.
Tarsal (G. tarsos, sole of foot). Any tarsal bone.
Temporal (L. tempus, time or temple) Temporal bone.
Thoracic (G. thorax, breastplate, the chest) Referring to the chest
formed of twelve vertebrae, 12 ribs, and sternum.
Ulna (L., G. olene, elbow). The elbow bone. The larger and more
medial of the two bones of the forearm.
Vertebra (L. vertebra, joint; verto, to turn). In humans, one of the 33
bony segments of the spinal column.
Volar (L. vola, a concave or hollow surface). Pertaining to the palm
or sole. The flexor surface of the forearm, wrist, and/or
Vomer (L. vomer, ploughshare). A flat, thin bone forming the nasal
Xiphoid (G. xiphos, sword + eidos, resemblance). Sword-shaped distal
segment of the sternum; ensiform.
Zygomatic (G. zygoma, a bar or bolt). Os zygomaticum.
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For my career and his; boundless admiration for my graduate
advisor and teacher, at the University of Illinois, Department of
Physiology, Champaign-Urbana, 1950-1955.
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