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Glossary of Anatomy Terms
beginning with letter A
Browse the Anatomy Glossary
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abductor Tweet Definition of abductor Like Definition of abductor on Facebook
  1. One who abduct, abducts, a kidnapper.
  2. (anatomy) A muscle which serves to draw a part out, or form the median line of the body; as, the abductor oculi, which draws the eye outward.
accelerator Tweet Definition of accelerator Like Definition of accelerator on Facebook
noun Often used adjectivally
  1. One who, or that which, accelerates.
  2. A device for causing acceleration.
  3. A substance which speeds up chemical reactions.
  4. accelerator pedal.
accessory Tweet Definition of accessory Like Definition of accessory on Facebook
noun (accessories)
  1. That which belongs to something else deemed the principal; something additional and subordinate, an attachment
    • the accessories of a mobile phone
    • The aspect and accessories of a den of banditti. - w:Thomas Carlyle
      1. (context, Clothing) An article that completes one's basic outfit, such as a scarf or gloves.
      2. (context, Law) One who, not being present, contributes as an assistant or instigator to the commission of an offense.
    • accessory before the fact
    • accessory after the fact
      1. (Fine Arts): Anything that enters into a work of art without being indispensably necessary, as mere ornamental parts. - w:James Elmes
  1. Having a secondary, supplementary or subordinate function by accompanying as a subordinate; aiding in a secondary way; being additional; being connected as an incident or subordinate to a principal; contributing or being contributory. Said of persons and things, and, when of persons, usually in a bad sense; as, he was accessory to the riot; accessory sounds in music.
  2. (context, Law) assist, Assisting a crime without actually participating in committing the crime itself.
acetabulum Tweet Definition of acetabulum Like Definition of acetabulum on Facebook
noun (plural acetabula or acetabulums)
  1. (Roman Antiquities): a vinegar cup;
  2. (Roman Antiquities): the socket of the hipbone;
  3. (Roman Antiquities): a measure of about one eighth of a pint
  4. (Anatomy)): The bony cup which receives the head of the thigh bone.
  5. (Anatomy)): The cavity in which the leg of an insect is inserted at its articulation with the body.
  6. (Anatomy)): A sucker of the sepia or cuttlefish and related animals.
  7. (Anatomy)): The large posterior sucker of the leeches.
  8. (Anatomy)): One of the lobes of the placenta in ruminating animals.
Adam's apple Tweet Definition of Adam Like Definition of Adam
  1. The lump in the throat, more noticeable in males than in females; the laryngeal prominence.
adductor Tweet Definition of adductor Like Definition of adductor on Facebook
  1. (anatomy) A muscle which draws a limb or part of the body toward the middle line of the body, or closes extended parts of the body; -- opposed to abductor; as, the adductor of the eye, which turns the eye toward the nose.
    • Verrill:
    • : In the bivalve shells, the muscles which close the values of the shell are called muscles.
adenohypophysis Tweet Definition of adenohypophysis Like Definition of adenohypophysis on Facebook
noun (plural adenohypophyses)
  1. (anatomy) the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland, producing and secreting several peptide hormones that regulate many physiological processes including stress, growth, and reproduction.
adenoid Tweet Definition of adenoid Like Definition of adenoid on Facebook
  1. (anatomy) One of two folds of lymphatic tissue covered by ciliated epithelium. They are found in the roof and posterior wall of the nasopharynx at the back of the throat behind the uvula. They may obstruct normal breathing and make speech difficult when swollen, a condition often called adenoids.
  1. (anatomy) Of or relating to lymphatic glands or lymphoid tissue; lymphoid.
adipose Tweet Definition of adipose Like Definition of adipose on Facebook
  1. animal fat stored in the tissue of the body
  1. of, related to, or composed of fat; fatty
adrenal Tweet Definition of adrenal Like Definition of adrenal on Facebook
  1. An adrenal gland.
  1. Pertaining to the adrenal glands or their secretions.
  2. Near the kidneys.
adrenal gland Tweet Definition of adrenal gland Like Definition of adrenal gland on Facebook
  1. (anatomy) In mammals, either of a pair of complex endocrine glands, situated above each kidney, secreting hormones which control the heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism.
airway Tweet Definition of airway Like Definition of airway on Facebook
noun (plural airways)
  1. (anatomy) The trachea.
alveolus Tweet Definition of alveolus Like Definition of alveolus on Facebook
noun (alveoli)
  1. A small cavity or pit.
  2. (anatomy) an anatomical structure that has the form of a hollow cavity
  3. (anatomy) a small air sac in the lungs, where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged with the blood.
amnion Tweet Definition of amnion Like Definition of amnion on Facebook
noun (pl2=amnia)
  1. (anatomy) the innermost membrane of the fetal membranes of reptiles, birds, and mammals; the sac in which the embryo is suspended.
amphiarthrosis Tweet Definition of amphiarthrosis Like Definition of amphiarthrosis on Facebook
  1. (biology) the type of movable joint in animals in which the surfaces of bones are connected by ligaments or cartilage
amygdala Tweet Definition of amygdala Like Definition of amygdala on Facebook
  1. (medical) The region of the brain, located in the medial temporal lobe, believed to play a key role in the emotions, such as fear and pleasure, in animals and humans.
Anal Tweet Definition of Anal Like Definition of Anal on Facebook
proper noun 
  1. A language spoken by 14,500 people in India and Myanmar.
anastomosis Tweet Definition of anastomosis Like Definition of anastomosis on Facebook
  1. a cross-connection between two blood-vessels
  2. an interconnection between any two channels, passages or vessels
  • 1922: (...) our grandam, which we are linked up with by successive of navelcords sold us all, seed, breed and generation, for a penny pippin. (Joyce, Ulysses)
    1. (medicine) the surgical creation of a connecting passage between blood-vessels or other channels
anatomical Tweet Definition of anatomical Like Definition of anatomical on Facebook
  1. Of or relating to anatomy or dissection; as, the anatomic art; anatomical observations.
anatomist Tweet Definition of anatomist Like Definition of anatomist on Facebook
  1. One who studies, teaches, writes on, or does research on anatomy and anatomical structures.
ankle Tweet Definition of ankle Like Definition of ankle on Facebook
  1. The joint which connects the foot with the leg; the tarsus.
    1. (slang) Woman
verb (ankl, ing)
  1. (slang) To walk.
  2. (bicycling) To cyclically angle the foot at the ankle while pedaling, to maximize the amount of work applied to the pedal during each revolution.
anklebone Tweet Definition of anklebone Like Definition of anklebone on Facebook
noun (plural anklebones)
  1. (anatomy) The talus.
ankylosis Tweet Definition of ankylosis Like Definition of ankylosis on Facebook
  1. (anatomy) the growing together of bones to form a single unit
  2. (medicine) the stiffening of a joint as the result of such abnormal fusion
anteorbital Tweet Definition of anteorbital Like Definition of anteorbital on Facebook
adjective ante-orbital
  1. (Astronautical) Referring to the period before orbit is achieved.
anterior Tweet Definition of anterior Like Definition of anterior on Facebook
  1. before, Before in place; earlier in time.
  2. (anatomy) Nearer the head or the front.
antitragus Tweet Definition of antitragus Like Definition of antitragus on Facebook
  1. a projection of the auricle of the ear extending to the tragus
antrum Tweet Definition of antrum Like Definition of antrum on Facebook
noun (antra)
  1. A cavity, especially having bony walls.
anus Tweet Definition of anus Like Definition of anus on Facebook
noun (anuses)
  1. (anatomy) The lower opening of the digestive tract, through which feces pass.
aorta Tweet Definition of aorta Like Definition of aorta on Facebook
noun (pl=aortas or aortae)
  1. (anatomy) The great artery which carries the blood from the heart to all parts of the body except the lungs; the main trunk of the arterial system.
  2. (figurative) The liveliest part of something.
Tracing their battles, I had many occasions to walk along Second Avenue, the of the Lower East Side, exploring places that were once as vibrant and tumultuous as Midtown Manhattan.
apophysis Tweet Definition of apophysis Like Definition of apophysis on Facebook
noun (apophyses)
  1. A natural outgrowth, swelling or enlargement, usually of an organism
aqueduct Tweet Definition of aqueduct Like Definition of aqueduct on Facebook
  1. An artificial channel that is constructed to convey water from one location to another.
  2. A structure carrying water over a river or depression, especially in regards to ancient aqueducts.
arbor vitae Tweet Definition of arbor vitae Like Definition of arbor vitae on Facebook
  1. (idiom) (1811) A man's penis.
    • References
      1811 Dictionary of Vulgar Tongue
arborvitae Tweet Definition of arborvitae Like Definition of arborvitae on Facebook
  1. Any of severl North American or Asian conifers, of the genera Thuja and Thujopsis, grown for timber or ornament
  1. (anatomy) The white nerve tissue of the cerebellum that has a branching structure
area Tweet Definition of area Like Definition of area on Facebook
  1. (geometry) A measure of squared distance.
  2. A particular geographic region.
ARM Tweet Definition of ARM Like Definition of ARM on Facebook
  1. accelerated reply mail: a service of the United States Postal Service
  2. adjustable rate mortgage
armpit Tweet Definition of armpit Like Definition of armpit on Facebook
  1. The cavity beneath the junction of the arm and shoulder.
  2. Somewhere or something considered foul.
The of America.
arterial Tweet Definition of arterial Like Definition of arterial on Facebook
noun (wikipedia, Arterial road)
  1. A through road.
  1. Of or relating to an artery.
  2. Of or relating to a route, major.
arteriole Tweet Definition of arteriole Like Definition of arteriole on Facebook
noun (plural )
  1. (anatomy) One of the small branches of an artery, especially one that connects with capillary, capillaries.
arteriovenous Tweet Definition of arteriovenous Like Definition of arteriovenous on Facebook
adjective (no (compar) or (superl))
  1. Refers to the spatial relationship between the primary arteries and the primary veins of the heart.
artery Tweet Definition of artery Like Definition of artery on Facebook
noun (arteries)
  1. The efferent vessels from the heart. Arteries convey blood away from the heart regardless of oxygenation status, see pulmonary artery.
  2. A major transit corridor.
articular Tweet Definition of articular Like Definition of articular on Facebook
  1. (anatomy) of, or relating to the joints of the body
arytenoid Tweet Definition of arytenoid Like Definition of arytenoid on Facebook
  1. (anatomy) either of a pair of movable cartilages in the larynx that serve as posterior attachment points for the vocal folds; a muscle attached to this cartilage, or a gland located near it
  1. of, or relating to this cartilage, muscle or gland
Atlas Tweet Definition of Atlas Like Definition of Atlas on Facebook
proper noun 
  1. (Greek mythology) : son of Iapetus and Clymene, war leader of the Titans ordered by the god Zeus to support the sky on his shoulders; father to Hesperides, the Hyades, and the Pleiades; king of the legendary Atlantis.
  2. (Astronomy) a moon of Saturn discovered in 1980 from Voyager photos.
  3. (Astronomy) a crater in the first quadrant of the moon
  4. (Warfare, U.S.) Intercontinental ballistic missile
atomy Tweet Definition of atomy Like Definition of atomy on Facebook
noun (plural atomies)
  1. (archaic) a skeleton
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 3, scene v,
    • :That eyes, that are the frail'st and softest things / Who shut their coward gates on atomies / Should be call'd tyrants, butchers, murderers!
    • 1786, Dr. Smollett, The History and Adventures of an Atom, Harrison and Co., page 5,
    • :I was now thrown into a violent perturbation of spirit; for I never could behold an without tear and trembling, even when I knew it was no more than a competition of dry bone.
atrioventricular Tweet Definition of atrioventricular Like Definition of atrioventricular on Facebook
  1. of the spatial relationship between the ventricles and the atria of the heart
atrium Tweet Definition of atrium Like Definition of atrium on Facebook
noun (atri, a, pl2=atriums)
  1. (context, architecture) A square hall lighted from above, into which rooms open at one or more levels.
  2. (anatomy) A body cavity or chamber, especially an upper chamber of the heart that receives blood from the veins and forces it into a ventricle. An auricle. In higher vertebrates, the right atrium receives blood from the superior vena cava and inferior vena cava, and the left atrium receives blood from the left and right pulmonary veins.
Attic Tweet Definition of Attic Like Definition of Attic on Facebook
proper noun 
  1. An ancient Greek dialect spoken in Attica, Euboea, and the northern coastal regions of the Aegean Sea.
  1. Relating to Athenian culture or architecture.
auditory Tweet Definition of auditory Like Definition of auditory on Facebook
  1. of, or relating to hearing, or to the sense or organs of hearing
aural Tweet Definition of aural Like Definition of aural on Facebook
  1. Of or pertaining to the ear.
  2. Of or pertaining to sound.
auricular Tweet Definition of auricular Like Definition of auricular on Facebook
  1. The little finger, so called because it can be readily introduced into the ear passage.
  1. Of or pertaining to the ear, or to the sense of hearing; as, auricular nerves.
  2. Told in the ear, i. e., told privately; as, auricular confession to the priest.
  3. Recognized by the ear; known by the sense of hearing; as, auricular evidence.
  4. Received by the ear; known by report.
  5. (anatomy) Pertaining to the auricles of the heart.
autonomic nervous system Tweet Definition of autonomic nervous system Like Definition of autonomic nervous system on Facebook
  1. (neuroanatomy) In humans and other vertebrates, the part of the nervous system that regulates the involuntary activity of the heart, intestines and glands. These activities include digestion, respiration, perspiration, metabolism, and the modulation of blood pressure.
AV Tweet Definition of AV Like Definition of AV on Facebook
  1. alternative vote.
  2. anti-virus.
  3. arteriovenous.
  4. atrioventricular.
  5. audiovisual.
  6. Authorised Version.
axilla Tweet Definition of axilla Like Definition of axilla on Facebook
noun (plural: axillae)
  1. The armpit, or the cavity beneath the junction of the arm and shoulder.
  2. The angle or point of divergence between the upper side of a branch, leaf, or petiole, and the stem or branch from which it springs.

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