One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A very small bone, especially one of those in the middle ear.
- ‘Sutural bones are usually small, irregularly shaped ossicles, often found in the sutures of the cranium, especially in the parietal bones.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Vibrations of the eardrum are then coupled by the middle ear ossicles, the three smallest bones in the body, to the fluid-filled cochlea.’
- ‘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 A small piece of calcified material forming part of the skeleton of an invertebrate animal such as an echinoderm.
- ‘The position of these plates on the non-rudiment side of the larva suggests that ossicles occurring on the aboral surface are extraxial.’
- ‘The calcitic ossicles of crinoids, as is typical of echinoderms, form an internal skeleton that provides support and protection.’
- ‘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’.
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