One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A flat muscle at the back of the knee which arises from the lateral condyle of the femur and is inserted into the posterior surface of the tibia, and serves to rotate the tibia on the femur, allowing the fully extended knee to begin flexion.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in Randle Holme (1627–1700), herald painter. From post-classical Latin popliteus, adjective (in musculus popliteus) from classical Latin poplit-, poples knee joint, back of the knee, hough, of unknown origin + -eus.
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