Definition of trapezius in US English:


(also trapezius muscle)


  • Either of a pair of large triangular muscles extending over the back of the neck and shoulders and moving the head and shoulder blade.

    • ‘The main upper-back muscles are the trapezius, rhomboids and levator scapulae.’
    • ‘In particular, the external rotator muscles and the lower trapezius muscle are the focus of the eccentric program.’
    • ‘The third part of the artery may be covered by the trapezius or sternocleidomastoid, or by the clavicular origin of the omohyoid.’
    • ‘With the upper trapezius, the levator scapula lifts your shoulder blades.’
    • ‘The primary interest of the present study was to compare the muscle recruitment patterns of the trapezius and deltoid muscles in patients with shoulder impingement with the patterns of subjects who had healthy shoulders.’


Early 18th century: from modern Latin, from Greek trapezion ‘trapezium’ (because of the shape formed by the muscles).