Main definitions of fossa in US English:

: fossa1fossa2

fossa1

nounPlural fossae

Anatomy
  • A shallow depression or hollow.

    • ‘Older children and adults experience ‘hot and sweaty fossae and folds’ involving flexor surfaces such as the antecubital and popliteal fossae, as well as the flexor wrists and ankles.’
    • ‘If one classifies CSF leaks according to location they may be found in the anterior, middle or posterior cranial fossae.’
    • ‘Most masses in the iliac fossae arise from the intestine and colon.’
    • ‘After pre-operative embolisation, the tumour was resected from the infratemporal and pterygopalatine fossae, sphenoid sinus, nasopharynx, nasal cavity and maxillary antrum.’
    • ‘They occupy the ovarian fossae on the lateral pelvic wall.’
    hollow, indentation, dent, dint, cavity, concavity, dip, pit, hole, pothole, sink, sinkhole, excavation, trough, crater
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 17th century: from Latin, literally ‘ditch’, feminine past participle of fodere ‘to dig’.

Pronunciation

fossa

/ˈfɑsə//ˈfäsə/

Main definitions of fossa in US English:

: fossa1fossa2

fossa2

nounPlural fossae

  • A large nocturnal reddish-brown catlike mammal of the civet family, found in the rainforests of Madagascar.

    Cryptoprocta ferox, family Viverridae

    • ‘A catlike civet known as a fossa prowls the rain forest of Madagascar's Ranomafana National Park.’
    • ‘Catlike predators with long tails, fossas hunt everything from lemurs and mice to wild pigs.’
    • ‘It was also home to animals that preyed on lemurs, among them the large, catlike fossa, which I was to encounter many times.’
    • ‘Foreigners can also volunteer with Earthwatch to help track lemurs or radio-collar Madagascar's lynx-like fossa.’
    • ‘Could the fossa be a link between the marsupial and the mammals without pouches?’
    • ‘The explanation for the strange appearance of fossas and other Madagascar animals goes back some 160 million years ago in geologic time.’
    • ‘Brad Bailey joined an Earthwatch group tracking the endangered fossa cat in Madagascar, making a 30-minute film based on his experience.’
    • ‘Their big ears help them search for food and hear such enemies as catlike fossas.’
    • ‘Radio collars reveal how far fossas range (up to 25 kilometers or 16 miles a day).’
    • ‘He has trapped fossas, examined them thoroughly and equipped some with radio collars to track their activities once they are back in the wild.’
    • ‘Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island, is renowned for its wealth of unique plants and land animals, including lemurs, fossas, and giant jumping rats.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: from Malagasy fosa.

Pronunciation

fossa

/ˈfɑsə//ˈfäsə/