One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Each of a pair of muscles which run under the jaw and act to open it.
- ‘The insertion of the superior belly may overshoot the hyoid bone and attach alongside the digastric.’
- ‘The submandibular glands are located within a triangle bounded by the sternocleidomastoid muscle, the posterior belly of the digastric muscle, and the body of the mandible.’
- ‘Training caused an increase in the activity of citrate synthase and superoxide dismutase in the digastric muscle, the sternohyoid muscle, and the costal diaphragm.’
- ‘The tip is dissected from the underlying digastric muscle with care to avoid the stylomastoid foramen and facial nerve.’
- ‘Accessory slips may join the muscle from the digastric, from the stylomandibular ligament, or the angle of the mandible.’
Late 17th century: from modern Latin digastricus, from di- ‘twice’ + Greek gastēr ‘belly’ (because the muscle has two fleshy parts or ‘bellies’ at an angle, connected by a tendon).
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