Chapter II

Fill in the gaps with the correct word(s) and then press "Check" to see your results. Correct answers will be entered into the text, while incorrect answers will remain blank so that you can try again.
In the previous chapter, it was emphasized that many bone names are derived from Latin: some are taken directly from that language without any alteration (e.g., “," the "flute" in the leg), while others undergo spelling changes in the process of their adoption as English words (e.g., “," the "little key"). Bones could be named for a variety of reasons, including their resemblance to some object (e.g., , “little dish”) or function (e.g., , from the Latin verb meaning “to turn”). Since the history of anatomy is so complex, it should come as no surprise that there is such variation in the ways bones get their names.

Not all bone names come from Latin, though, and it is worth observing a few instances in which other languages have had some input in anatomical nomenclature. Although it will be some time before you begin studying Greek terms formally, note that several bone names come directly or indirectly from this language. , the name for the bony process of the scapula at its juncture with the clavicle, is adopted from Greek without any change (lit. “point of the shoulder”). So too is , which literally means “phalanxes,” that is, lines of troops. , , and are all Latin words used to refer to the skull, hip, and breastbone respectively, but they have been adopted from Greek with a small phonetic change to the original -ion ending. Other names, such as “tarsals” and “metacarpals,” are derived from Greek, but have been adapted slightly to an English spelling system.

In anatomical systems, Latin and Greek names predominate, but it is not uncommon to find words of a different origin. For example, many familiar names for body parts are Germanic: “finger,” “hand,” “arm,” “shoulder,” “toe,” “foot,” etc. When it comes to bones, however, nearly all examples are Latin and Greek. While “skull,” “kneecap,” “shin,” and other such Germanic words are often used as informal designations, the official names for bones (e.g., “cranium,” “patella,” “tibia”) are all derived directly or indirectly from Latin or Greek, with the exception of the Germanic “” (though note its adjectival form “costal,” from Lat. costa).