Definition of scapular in US English:



Anatomy Zoology
  • Relating to the shoulder or shoulder blade.

    • ‘In the overhead thrower, the shoulder external rotator muscles, scapular retractor muscles, and protractor and depressor muscles are frequently isolated because of weakness.’
    • ‘We routinely have throwers stretch their pectoralis minor muscle and strengthen the lower trapezius muscle and scapular retractor and protractor muscles.’
    • ‘This strengthens the scapular muscles of the shoulder blades, which support the humerus joint.’
    • ‘This exercise strengthens the back extensors, gluteals, adductors, scapular stabilizers, hip flexors and core abdominal muscles.’
    • ‘Some slips passing from the first and second ribs to the vertebral border of the scapula and supplied by the dorsal scapular nerve may be looked upon as belonging to the rhomboid sheet and therefore as variations of those muscles.’


  • 1A short monastic cloak covering the shoulders.

    • ‘John stood at the foot of the Cross, and wiped the feet of Jesus with his scapular.’
    • ‘Each of these small paintings portrays a Calvary scene with a kneeling Carthusian, recognizable by his white full-length scapular, fitted with a cowl.’
    • ‘She was buried in Mantua in the habit of a Franciscan tertiary, with the cord and the scapular, as the Modenese chronicler Lancellotti reports.’
    • ‘In the spandrel above Saint George sits Saint Augustine, who appears as a hermit dressed in the habit of the Eremitani (also known as the Austin friars), wearing a scapular, his bishop's miter resting at his feet.’
    1. 1.1 A symbol of affiliation to an ecclesiastical order, consisting of two strips of cloth hanging down the breast and back and joined across the shoulders.
      • ‘Heck, some folks even refuse to take their scapulars off whilst swimming!’
      • ‘I tell you this did some good for others; they bought themselves scapulars and put them around their necks.’
      • ‘On the green nearby, there were many stalls, selling all sorts of religious objects: rosary beads, scapulars, and prayer books.’
      • ‘I saw them and knew she couldn't cure them herself but she placed a religious scapular and medals on them.’
      • ‘Rather, Lickona provides a delightfully high-spirited and candid account of living Catholicism as though it were true, scapulars included.’
      • ‘Brown scapulars were distributed as mementoes to each and every one present.’
      • ‘At the age of six, I myself wore a tallith katan, or scapular, under my shirt, only mine was a scrap of green calico print, whereas theirs are white linen.’
      • ‘Small statues, candles, and miniature crucifixes dominated most of the space, along with scapulars, rosaries, and encrypted prayers.’
      • ‘Here one would read The Furrow, The Capuchin Annual, The Messenger of the Sacred Heart, and one might wear the green scapular.’
      • ‘Even Severo, who attends church regularly (if not religiously), believes ‘that masses and religious vows, like the selling of indulgences, images, and scapulars, were a dishonest business’.’
  • 2Medicine
    A bandage passing over and around the shoulders.

  • 3Ornithology
    A scapular feather.

    • ‘Unmistakable, each was dressed in splendid sooty-black breeding plumage complete with prominent white spotting on the mantle and scapulars and white eye-ring.’
    • ‘Breeding adults were captured at their nest burrows, marked with United States Fish and Wildlife Service leg bands, and fitted with a depth recorder attached to the contour feathers between the scapulars with a cable tie.’
    • ‘Both sexes have extensive gray stippling on long scapulars and upper wing coverts.’
    • ‘With the aid of a torch I could make out the roosting birds; each nestled in a hollow, body pressed down with head tucked well into scapulars.’


Late 15th century (in scapular (sense 1 of the noun)): from late Latin scapulare, from scapula ‘shoulder’. The adjective (late 17th century) and the later senses of the noun are from scapula + -ar.