One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Each of a pair of projections from the sphenoid bone in the skull.
- ‘The pterygoid processes, one on either side, descend perpendicularly from the regions where the sphenoid body and alisphenoids unite.’
- ‘The sphenoidal sinus may be absent or small; it may be very large and extend into the basilar process of the occipital bone, the greater or lesser wings of the sphenoid, or the pterygoid processes.’
- ‘The left and right pterygoid processes project inferiorly from near the junction of each of the greater wings with the body of the sphenoid.’
Early 18th century: from modern Latin pterygoides (plural), from Greek pterux, pterug- ‘wing’.
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