Chapter III

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The names of the parts of the human skull offer another glimpse into the adaptation of Latin and Greek elements in English medical vocabulary. In Chapter I, you saw how some names for bones were taken directly from these languages, and the same is true for certain parts of the skull. , for instance, is the Latin word for “jaw” (note that in modern usage it refers only to the upper half, with the lower half known as the , an “implement used for chewing,” as discussed in Chapter I). Similarly, occiput is Latin for “the of the head,” and means “scale” (used to denote the front upper region of the temporal bone, which is thin and translucent like a scale). The name “external acoustic meatus” is a linguistic mash-up: “external” is an English word derived from , “acoustic” is an English word derived from , and meatus (“”) is a pure Latin word, used in anatomy to describe a number of openings leading to the interior of the body (e.g., “nasal” and “urinary”).

Other names are derived from Latin, but with certain changes. The bone is the one found at the temples, and the bone gets its name from the Latin word for “wall,” as you learned in the vocabulary in Chapter I. The bone is the one at the forehead. The bone, the smallest bone of the face, is so called because of its grooves that allow for the passage of the tear ducts.

In surgery, a “” (Lat. “sewing”) is a stitching together of a wound. In anatomy, this word describes the attachment of two bones, held together by fibers growing from one into the other. In the skull, some of these features are denoted by location: the suture is at the joining of the squama, and the suture is located on the crown of the head.

Finally, there are some Greek word elements found in the diagram that you will encounter again. The suffix -oid comes from the Greek word for “image” or “likeness,” so as a suffix it means “in the likeness of.” Thus, the suture is “shaped like a lambda” (the Greek letter for “l”; see Chapter XV), the process is “breast-shaped,” and the bone is “like a wedge.”