One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural maxillaeAnatomy Zoology
1The jaw or jawbone, specifically the upper jaw in most vertebrates. In humans it also forms part of the nose and eye socket.
jawbone, lower jaw, mandibleView synonyms
- ‘There are five large teeth on the maxillae (upper jaw bone), rather short canines, and at least twenty small and uniform post-canines.’
- ‘Anteriorly, the ventral margin of the maxilla curves dorsally.’
- ‘It may also have had a role in giving some minor flexibility to the snout, as it tends to insert ventrally between the maxilla and premaxilla, and dorsally between the nasal and premaxilla.’
- ‘Two major bones of the upper jaw, the maxilla, and the premaxilla, were previously firmly attached to the skull and had teeth.’
- ‘The maxilla fuses with the vomer bone and the nasal septum.’
- 1.1 (in many arthropods) each of a pair of mouthparts used in chewing.
- ‘The right maxilla, measuring 4.5 x 4.5 x 5 cm, was received for pathologic evaluation.’
- ‘First, Protohadros has a very large pair of maxillae.’
- ‘In the dried skin, the maxilla is blackish except for the tip, which is paler.’
- ‘The mouthparts consist of a pair of mandibles and 2 pairs of maxillae.’
- ‘Behind the mandibles, Mandibulata bear one, or more typically, two pairs of maxillae, frequently with a long palp, as in the second maxilla of Macrocyclops.’
Late Middle English: from Latin, ‘jaw’.
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