Definition of ossicle in English:



Anatomy Zoology
  • 1A very small bone, especially one of those in the middle ear.

    • ‘Vibrations of the eardrum are then coupled by the middle ear ossicles, the three smallest bones in the body, to the fluid-filled cochlea.’
    • ‘The middle ear ossicles and tympanic membrane remained intact, so sound stimulation could be applied to the preparation through a loudspeaker connected to the external ear canal.’
    • ‘Sutural bones are usually small, irregularly shaped ossicles, often found in the sutures of the cranium, especially in the parietal bones.’
    • ‘Sound waves reaching the tympanic membrane will initiate vibrations that are transmitted through the bony ossicles of the middle ear to the oval window.’
    • ‘Internally, the mastoid is hollowed out to form the epitympanic recess to accommodate the ossicles of the middle ear.’
    1. 1.1A small piece of calcified material forming part of the skeleton of an invertebrate animal such as an echinoderm.
      • ‘The calcitic ossicles of crinoids, as is typical of echinoderms, form an internal skeleton that provides support and protection.’
      • ‘The position of these plates on the non-rudiment side of the larva suggests that ossicles occurring on the aboral surface are extraxial.’
      • ‘As they grow, asteroids add new ossicles and increase size of existing ossicles.’
      • ‘Calcareous ossicles make up the internal skeleton.’
      • ‘Most such particles are echinoderm stem ossicles, brachiopods, bryozoans or other corals.’


Late 16th century: from Latin ossiculum, diminutive of os bone.