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[as-i-tab-yuh-luh m] /ˌæs ɪˈtæb yə ləm/
noun, plural acetabula
[as-i-tab-yuh-luh] /ˌæs ɪˈtæb yə lə/ (Show IPA)
Anatomy. the socket in the hipbone that receives the head of the thighbone.
Zoology. any of the suction appendages of a leech, octopus, etc.
Origin of acetabulum
1660-70; < Latin: hip socket, cup-shaped part of a plant (Pliny), literally, small cup, orig. for vinegar, equivalent to acēt(um) vinegar + -ā- by analogy with verbal derivatives (cf. vocable) + -bulum suffix denoting instrument or vessel
Related forms
acetabular, adjective
postacetabular, adjective
preacetabular, adjective
subacetabular, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for acetabulum


noun (pl) -la (-lə)
the deep cuplike cavity on the side of the hipbone that receives the head of the thighbone
a round muscular sucker in flatworms, leeches, and cephalopod molluscs
the aperture in the thorax of an insect that holds the leg
Word Origin
Latin: vinegar cup, hence a cuplike cavity, from acētum vinegar + -abulum, suffix denoting a container
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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acetabulum in Medicine

acetabulum ac·e·tab·u·lum (ās'ĭ-tāb'yə-ləm)
n. pl. ac·e·tab·u·la (-lə)
The cup-shaped cavity at the base of the hipbone into which the ball-shaped head of the femur fits. Also called cotyloid cavity.

ac'e·tab'u·lar adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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