Chapter IV

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Several bones of the hand and foot have names that make use of some of the suffixes learned in this chapter. For instance, the adjectival suffix -al is attached to a few bases to indicate position relative to the trunk or center, as in “lateral,” which you have already studied: “” indicates something that is nearer, “” something that is in the middle, and “” something that is farther away. Three words use the -ate suffix in the sense of “shaped like”: “,” “,” and “.” The first is a “hook-shaped” bone; the second is "moon-shaped"; the third is "head-shaped." Another suffix denoting shape or resemblance is -form, seen both in “cuneiform” (“shaped like a ”) and “” (“shaped like a pea”).

There are also several diminutive forms in these diagrams (cf. “clavicle”). The is a “little hook” projecting from the hamate bone in the carpals. “Malleolus” means “” and designates a rounded process, here the bony protuberances of the ankle; the one on the outside is called the “ malleolus,” which the interior one is called the “ malleolus”). “” contains the -ar suffix and means “like a little boat."

Some terms have only Greek elements, which will be learned later on. “Carpal,” “metacarpal,” “tarsal,” and “metatarsal” may seem to have a Latin element in the -al suffix, but words derived from Greek also use this same form. Note also the recurrence of the -oid suffix meaning “like, resembling” (cf. Lat. -ate). “” means “like a table,” “” means “like a cube,” and “” means “like a boat” (the latter term is applied to the bone in the wrist, while the corresponding bone in the foot is called the “navicular”; for whatever reason, the Latin version is diminutive, but the Greek is not). Again, words derived from different languages are often situated side-by-side: talus is Greek for “,” and “” is Latin for “relating to the heel."

Meanwhile, “” is from the diminutive form of “trapezoid"—perhaps rather boringly, the bone that is “like a table” is immediately adjacent to the one that is “like a little table.” Deciphering such combinations of Latin and Greek requires a knowledge of both languages; rest assured that in due time you will know them like the back of your hand.