Definition of maxilla in US English:



Anatomy Zoology
  • 1The jaw or jawbone, specifically the upper jaw in most vertebrates. In humans it also forms part of the nose and eye socket.

    • ‘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.’
    jawbone, lower jaw, mandible
    View synonyms
    1. 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’.