Where do the names of bones come from?

Image by com329329 from Pixabay

Question from Mohamed Abasi

MostboneshaveLatinorGreek names, and many describe what they look like, where they are, or what they do. The bones in the inner ear are called the ‘malleus’, ‘incus’ and ‘stapes’, which mean hammer, anvil and stirrup. The word ‘patella’ (the kneecap) means shallow dish, while ‘pelvis’ means basin. ‘Femur’ means thigh, ‘vertebra’ comes from the Latin verb ‘to turn’, and ‘mandible’ from the Latin for ‘to chew’.

Answered by Laura Mears for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 101.

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