Definition of malleus in English:


nounPlural mallei

  • A small bone in the middle ear which transmits vibrations of the eardrum to the incus.

    • ‘Mammals have three, the stapes, the malleus, and incus, the last two being the old reptilian jaw joint still conserved deep within our ear.’
    • ‘In mammals they are called the malleus, incus and stapes.’
    • ‘The malleus, or hammer, is the largest of the three ossicles.’
    • ‘Urbantschitsch has provided detailed measurements of the malleus, incus and the stapes.’
    • ‘The air pressure on either side of the eardrum is normally kept equal for proper functioning of the middle ear structures, namely the malleus, incus and stapes bones.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin, literally ‘hammer’.