One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The jaw or a jawbone, especially the lower jawbone in mammals and fishes.
jawbone, lower jawView synonyms
- ‘Most use their maxillae and mandibles to take in food.’
- ‘Both wolves and spotted hyenas tend to leave the skulls and mandibles of their prey behind, but they often remove entire limbs, especially from the upper exposed side of the carcass.’
- ‘The human remains comprise one complete mandible, two fragmentary mandibles, and a cranial fragment.’
- ‘In the mandible, there are four incisors, two canines, four premolars, and six molars.’
- ‘The tongue is suspended from the inside of the mandible above the hyoid bone and has muscles with a range of different orientations.’
- 1.1 Either of the upper and lower parts of a bird's beak.
bill, nibView synonyms
- ‘Breeding adults have a laterally flattened horn on the upper mandible.’
- ‘The bill is a pinkish horn color and dark markings appear on the upper mandible.’
- ‘The young birds' mandibles begin to cross about two weeks after they fledge, and they learn to extract seeds soon after that.’
- ‘In addition, bill curvature was measured, taking the radius of the height of the upper mandible from the line traced from the base to the tip of the bill.’
- ‘The upper mandible of the bill is dark, and the legs are bright orange.’
- 1.2 Either half of the crushing organ in an arthropod's mouthparts.
- ‘They crush the honeybees in their mandibles one after another until the bees are all dead.’
- ‘The trap-jaw ant fires its mandibles with such force to propel itself to the front of the pack.’
- ‘Centipedes were measured from the tip of the upper mandible to the posterior end of the last body segment.’
Late Middle English: from Old French, or from late Latin mandibula, from mandere ‘to chew’.
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