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1A space separating teeth of different functions, especially that between the biting teeth (incisors and canines) and grinding teeth (premolars and molars) in rodents and ungulates.
- ‘The canines are absent or vestigial, and a substantial diastema separates incisors and cheek teeth.’
- ‘If a horse has a narrower diastema, a smaller or flatter palate, and/or a fat or thick tongue, a thinner bit may be far more comfortable in that horse's mouth than a thick one.’
- ‘As in the traversodonts, a large gap - the diastema - separated the incisors from the square cheek teeth (seven on each side).’
- ‘The bit sits in a part of the horse's mouth called the diastema, which is a section devoid of teeth that lies between the front incisors and the back pre-molars and molars.’
- ‘Incisors and canines are absent, but the anterior cheek teeth are enlarged, triangular in cross section, and canine-like. They are separated from the rest of the cheek teeth by a diastema.’
- 1.1 A gap between a person's two upper front teeth.
Mid 19th century: via late Latin from Greek diastēma ‘space between’.
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