One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Relating to the nape of the neck.
- ‘The ultrasound examination looks for a thickening of skin behind the fetal neck, called the nuchal fold, which sometimes occurs in Down syndrome and, possibly, other birth defects.’
- ‘Palpation of the head in patients with tension-type headache may reveal tenderness in the pericranial muscles and tension in the nuchal musculature or trapezius.’
- ‘He considered that this change is secondary to mechanical factors, acting during the neck flexion, when the thick nuchal ligament is subjected to pressure and trauma as it passes over the spinous processes of the cervical vertebrae.’
- ‘The excised nodule consisted of fibrocartilaginous tissue surrounded by dense connective tissue of the nuchal ligament.’
- ‘If patients show signs of increased intracranial pressure or nuchal rigidity, immediate CT scanning of the brain, orbits, and sinuses should be performed.’
Mid 19th century: from obsolete nucha ‘nape’ (from medieval Latin nucha ‘medulla oblongata’, from Arabic nuḵa‘ ‘spinal marrow’) + -al.
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