Anatomical Etymologies

Below is a partial list of entries from Tough Mother in a Turkish Saddle, a book on anatomical etymology currently being written by Dr. A. Carey Carpenter, Palomar College, San Marcos California.

Please feel free to provide corrections or additional information. All credit will be given for any contributions that end up in the book.

Email Dr.C. 


abdomen, directly from the Latin abdomen, bellyy...

abducens: cranial nerve number six, is...

acetabulum of the pelvic bone, is...,

Achilles tendon: the common tendon of the gastrocnemius...

Adam's apple: anterior lump in the neck,  

adipose is derived from adeps, the Latin word for ...

afferent: moving towards something; used in referemce...

alimentary is an adjective that comes from the...

alveolus (pl. alveoli) is derived from the Latin ...

ampulla: the expanded, usually terminal region of ...

amygdala, Greek for almond. a mass of gray matter ...

anatomical snuff box, also known as the radial ...

androgen is from the Greek andros (a man), and ...

ankle comes from the Latin angulus (little corner ...

aorta has an uncertain derivation.  First recorded...

appendix comes from the Latin appendere, ...

arachnoid, spider-like, derives from the Greek wo...

arbor vitae, Latin for "tree of life", is used to ...

atlas, the first cervical vertebra and the bone th...

atrium (pl. atria), one of two entry chambers of t...

autonomic, from the Greek auto, self, and nomo, la...

axon comes directly from axon, the Greek word for ...


biceps comes from the Latin words bis (twice) and ...

bile comes from the Latin word for bile, bilis. T...

buccinator, the muscle of the cheek; derived from ...

bursa comes straight from the medieval Latin bursa... 


cancer, the Latin word for crab. although often a...

canine, aka the cuspid, the tooth between the late...

capillary comes from the Latin capillus which mean...

carotid artery gets its name from the Greek ka...

chiasma, a "crossing", from the Greek letter for X...

cilium was the Latin word used by the ancient Roma...

clavicle, the collarbone: the slender, sigmoid-sha...

clitoris is derived from the Greek word for clitor...

coccyx, the tail bone, comes from kokkyx, Greek fo...

collagen comes from the Greek kolla (glue) and ge...

colostrum, the first milk secreted by the mother a...

concha (singular, rhymes with "tonka"; the plural,...

coracoid, from the Greek korone, crow, and -oides,...

cornea, from the Latin, cornu, animal horn, and co...

coronary, from the Latin corona, garland, wreath, ...

cricoid comes from the Greek krikos (finger-ring) ...

cubital, from the Latin cubitus, elbow; also: the ...


dartos, the smooth muscle layer just deep to ...

dens, a tooth-like process on the axis (the second... 


endocrine, from the Greek endon, within, and krine... 


fascicle comes from fasciculus, the diminutive of ...

fibula, directly from the Latin fibula, a Roman cl...

fimbria, direct from the Latin fīmbria , the ornam...

finger comes unaltered from Old English (i.e. angl...

fontanelle (also fontanel), from fontanella, from ...

foramen is taken directly from the Latin word for ...

fornix (plural, fornices), comes directly from t...

fossa, from the Latin fossa, ditch or trench. ana... 


ganglion, from the Greek gagglion, tumor or swelli...

glenoid, from the the Greek glene, sock...

glomerulus, the spherical capillary tuft within th...

gubernaculum comes directly from Latin gubernaculu..

hamstrings: hamm is an Anglo-Saxon

heart comes from the anglo-Saxon (Old English) wor...

Henle, Friedrich Gustav Jakob (born ...

hippocampus, the half horse/half fish sea creature...

histology, from the Greek word histos, cloth or wo...

hymen comes from the Greek hyalos, membrane.  G...

hyoid, from the Greek letter Υ (upsilon) and eid... 


ileum, from the Greek word for twisted, elios. its...

incus, the Latin word for anvil; the middle of the...

infundibulum, Latin for funnel.  Uterine tubes...

insula, directly from insula, Latin for island; t...

intestines, from the Latin intestina, guts, which ...

iris, directly from the Greek iris, rainbow. arist...

ischium comes from iskhion, the Greek word for the... 


jejunum, from jenunus, Latin for empty or hungry: ...

jugular comes from jugulum, a Latin word with at l... 


labrum comes directly from a word Latin for lip, l...

lambdoid, from the Greek letter lambda (λ, lower c...

larynx comes directly from the Greek larynx which ...

lens, from the Latin, lens, the lentil bean.  ...

liver, from the anglo-Saxon word for liver, lifer....

lumen, straight from the Latin for light, lumen. T...

lymph, from the Latin lympha for "... 


malar - relating to the cheek. from the Latin mala...

malleolus, Latin for little hammer. Vesalius, in t...

malleus, Latin for hammer; the auditory ossicle th...

manubrium, directly from the Latin for handle, man...

medulla, Latin for marrow. because of its deriv...

mental, in anatomy, is an adjective meaning "rela...

mitral is derived from the Latin mitra, girdle or ...

molar, from the Latin mola, mill or millstone. ...

mons, Latin for mountain or mound. it's only use i...

muscle comes from the Latin for "little mouse",...

myelin, from the Greek myelos, marrow. myelin was... 


navicular is derived from the Latin navicula, litt...

nerve can be traced back all the way to the Sanskr... 


obturator comes from the Latin obturare, to close ...

omentumEarliest recorded use of the word was...

orbit, as in eye-socket, comes from the Latin orbi... 


pancreas, from the Greek pan, all, and kreas, fles...

patella, directly from the Latin patella, a small ...

pectoral, from the Latin pectus, breast. it's been...

pineal gland (also called the pineal body), from t...

prepuce, the loose sheath surrounding the glan... 


sella turcica, a deep depression in the flo...

sphincter was first used by Galen in the 2nd cent...

sternum is a word that can be traced back to a cou... 


tragus, from the Latin tragos, goat: the skin-cove...

 

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Copyright 2007-08 by Alfred Carey Carpenter. All rights reserved.

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