Anatomy Learning Resources
Duke University Medical School
Detailed Reading List

Anatomical Terms

Anatomical and Clinical Terminology Sites: These sites help you decipher between the clinical terms and anatomical terms you will be hearing in anatomy lab and from our clinical presenters.

Anatomical Terms

Common Terms Used For Features of Bones (and other aspects of anatomy)






A rounded knob that articulates with another bone

Occipital condyles of skull


A smooth, flat, slightly concave or convex articular surface

Articular facets of the vertebrae


The prominent expanded end of a bone, sometimes rounded

head of femur

Extensions and Projections


A narrow ridge

Iliac crest of pelvis


A projection superior to a condye

Medial epicondyle of the femur


A slightly raised, elongated ridge

Nuchal lines of the skull


Any bony prominence

Mastoid process of the skull


A bony outgrowth or protruding part

Mental protuberance of the chin


A sharp, slender, or narrow process

Spine of the scapula


Two massive processes unique to the femur



A small, rounded process

Greater tubercle of the humerus


A rough elevated surface

Tibial tuberosity



A pit or socket

tooth socket


A shallow, broad, or elongated basin

mandibular fossa


A small pit

fovea capitis of the femur


A groove for a tendon, nerve, or blood vessel

Intertubercular sulcus of the humerus

Passages and Cavities


A tubular passage or tunnel in a bone

condylar canal of the skull


A slit through a bone

orbital fissures behind the eye


A hole through a bone, usually round

foramen magnum of the skull


An opening into a canal

acoustic meatus of the ear


An air-filled space in a bone

frontal sinus of the forehead

Latin and Greek Terminology: Below is an alphabetized list of the Latin (L.) or Greek (G.) derivation of some of the anatomical terms used during this course. You may find it easier to remember the terms when you know what they mean.

-ceps -L. heads
-physis -G. growth
acetabulum -Roman vinegar cup
acromion -G. summit of the shoulder (omos)
ala -L. wing
alba -L. white
alveolus -L. small compartment
ansa -L. loop
anus -L. ring
arachnoid -G. spider
artery -G. air carrier
arthro-G. joint
atrium -L. antechamber
azygos -G. unpaired
brachio -L. arm
brevis -L. short
buccinator/buccal -L. cheek
bulla -L. bubble
bursa -L. purse
cadaver -L. fallen one
calcaneus -L. heel
cancellous -L. lattice
capillary -L. hair
caput -L. head
carina -L. keel of a boat
camae -L. fleshy
carotid -G. deep sleep
carpal -L. wrist
caruncle -L. small, fleshy mass
cauda equina -L. horse's tail
cecum -L. blind end
cephal-L. head
cerebellum -L. little brain
cerebrum -L. brain
cervix -L. neck
chiasma -G. crossing
syn -G. with
chondro -G. cartilage
chyle -G. juice
clavicle -L. little key
clinoid -G. like a bedpost
coccyx -G. shaped like a cuckoo's beak
cochlea -G. snail shell
colon -G. food passage
conchae -L. shells
condyle -G. knuckle
coracoid -G. crow
corpora -L. bodies
costa -L. rib
cremaster -G. suspender
cribiform -L. sieve-shaped
cricoid -G. ring-like
crista galli -L. cock's crest
crus -L. leg
cuneiform -L. wedge-shaped
dartos -G. to be skinned
deltoid -G. triangle
dens -G. tooth
dia -G. between
diaphragm -G. partition
diploe -G. double
dorsum sellae -L. back of the saddle
duodenum -L. twelve (finger's breadth in length)
dura mater -L. hard mother
epi -G. upon
epididymus -G. upon the testis
epiglottis -G. upon the tongue
ethmoid -G. sieve-like
falc-/falx -L. sickle
fascia -L. band
fascia lata -L. broad band
filum -L. thread
fimbriae -L. fringes
foramen -L. aperture
fornix -L. arch
fossa -L. pit
fovea -L. pit
frenulum -L. little bridle
fundi form -L. sling-like
fundus -L. bottom
ganglion -G. knot
gastro-G. stomach or belly
Gastrocnemius -belly of the knee
Gemellus -L. little twin
genu -L. knee
gland /glans -L. acorn
glenoid -G. socket shape
glossal -G. tongue
glottis -G. larynx
gluteal -G. buttock
gonad -G. seed
gracilis -L. slender
gubernaculum -L. governor
hallux -L. great toe
hamate -L. hook-shaped
hernia -L. sprout or shoot
hiatus -L. aperture
hyoid -G. upsilon-shaped
ileum -twisted
ilium -L. flank
incisal -L. cut into
incus -L. anvil
infundibulum -L. funnel
ingiunal -L. groin
iris -G. rainbow or halo
ischium -G. hip
isthmus -G. narrow passage
jejunum -L. empty
jugular -L. yoke around throat
labrum -L. lip
lacteal -L. milk
lamina -L. thin plate
latissimus dorsi -L. widest of the back
lepto -G. slender
levator -L. lifts
lien-L. spleen
ligament -L. to bind
linea aspera -L. rough line
lingula -L. tongue
lumbrical -L. earthworm
lymph -L. clear water
macula lutea -L. yellow spot
malleus -L. hammer
mandible -L. to chew
manubrium -L. handle
masseter -G. chewer
meatus -L. passage
mediastinum -L. middle septum
meninges -G. membranes
meniscus -G. crescent
mesentery -G. middle of the intestine
mesoderm -G. middle skin
meta-G. beyond
metacarpal-G. after the wrist
mitral -L. bishop's cap
molar -L. mill
navicular -L. little boat
nucha -L. scruff of the neck
obturator -L. occludes .
oculo-L. eye
odontoid -G. tooth-like
olecranon -G. elbow head
omentum -L. veil
Omohyoid -G. u-shaped structure of the
ophthalmo-G. eye
ostium -L. mouth
ovary -L. egg receptacle
palpebral -L. eyelid
pampin-L. tendril
pancreas -G. all flesh (no fat)
parietal -L. wall
parotid -G. near the ear
patella -L. little plate
pectineus -L. comb
pectoral -L. breast
pedicle -L. little foot
pelvis -L. wide basin
penis -L. tail hanging down
phalanx -G. battle ranks
phren-G. diaphragm
pia mater -L. tender mother
piriformis -L. pear-like
pisiform -L. like a pea
plexus -L. braid
pollicis -L. thumb
pons -L. bridge
porta -L. gate
psoas -G. muscle of the loin
pudendal -L. to be ashamed
pylorus -G. gatekeeper
quadratus -L square
radius -L. spoke of a wheel
ramus -L. branch
raphe -G. seam
rectus -L. straight
sacrum -L. sacred
sagittal -L. arrow
salpinx -G. tube
Sartorius -L. tailor
scalene -G. triangle with unequal sides
scaphoid -G. rowboat-like
sclera -G. hard
scrotum -L. bag of skin
sella turcica -Turkish saddle
septum -L. fence
serratus -L. saw
sesamoid -G. sesame seed-like
sigmoid -G. like an S
sinus -L. hollowed out
skeleton -G. dried up
sphenoid -G. wedge-like
sphincter -G. strangle
splenius -G. bandage
stapes -L. stirrup
styloid -G. pillar-like
sulci -L. furrow
sura -L. calf
suture -L. sew
symphysis -G. grown together
tectum/tegmen -L. roof
tendon -; L. stretch out
tentorium -L. tent
teres -L. round
testis -witness
thyroid -G. like a shield
tibia -L. flute
trabecula -L. wooden beam
trochlea -L. pulley
tubercle -L. bump
tympanic -L. drum
ulna -L. elbow
uncinate -L. hook-shaped
urachus -G. to pour urine
ureter, urethra -G. to make water
uterus -L. leather water bottle
uvula -L. little grape
vagina -L. sheath for a sword
vagus -L. wandering
vas -L. vessel
ventricle -L. little belly
vermiform -L. worm
viscera -L. soft parts
vitelline -L. egg yolk
vomer -L. ploughshare
xiphoid -G. sword
zygoma -G. yoke



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Updated 11/7/11 - Velkey