One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural fibulae, Plural fibulas
The outer and usually smaller of the two bones between the knee and the ankle in humans (or the equivalent joints in other terrestrial vertebrates), parallel with the tibia.
- ‘Common sites are the tibia, fibula, metatarsals, lumbar spine (pars interarticularis), and the hip (proximal femur).’
- ‘The lower end of the femur articulates at the knee joint with the tibia (shin bone); the fibula lies beside the tibia on the outer side of the lower leg.’
- ‘Chris, son of former Clarets manager and striker Frank, suffered a broken fibula, tibia and cruciate and ankle ligament damage.’
- ‘The procedure involved the extraction of the lower jaw and its substitution by a bone transplant from the fibula of the patient.’
- ‘Both the radius and ulna (forearm bones), and the tibia and fibula (shank bones), are fused to each other.’
A brooch or clasp.
fastener, fastening, catch, clip, pinView synonyms
- ‘As Sarah Pomeroy has noted, Spartan women always had a weapon to hand since, when they wore clothes, they favoured an old-fashioned heavy peplos which needed to be fastened at the shoulders with sharp fibulae.’
- ‘David is shown as a young, beardless figure with short, dark hair, clad in a purple chlamys, fastened at the shoulder (though no fibula is represented), beneath which a white and golden yellow garment can be seen.’
- ‘It can be seen in the soldiers surrounding Theodosius on his missorium, and in the shield and spear held by Stilicho, the sword at his side and the great military fibula on his shoulder, all portrayed in detail on his diptych.’
Late 16th century: from Latin, ‘brooch’, perhaps related to figere ‘to fix’. The bone is so named because the shape it makes with the tibia resembles a clasp, the fibula being the pin.
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