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[kahr-puh l] /ˈkɑr pəl/ Anatomy
pertaining to the carpus:
the carpal joint.
a carpale.
Origin of carpal
From the New Latin word carpālis, dating back to 1735-45. See carpus, -al1
Related forms
intercarpal, adjective
supercarpal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for carpal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • carpal, that portion of the skeleton pertaining to the wrist.

  • The arm is divided into three sections: the deltoid, brachial and carpal.

  • This is brought about by flexion of the elbow and carpal joints.

    Lameness of the Horse

    John Victor Lacroix
  • The carpal bones are seven in number—four in the superior row, and three in the inferior.

  • Indeed, in this animal the groove in question is found on the external surface of the carpal extremity of the radius.

  • The maximum length of facial and carpal vibrissae is attained in M. erminea in the far north.

    American Weasels E. Raymond Hall
  • In skinning, disjoint the leg bones at the carpal joint, which leaves only the bones of the foot attached to the skin.

  • carpal vibrissae reaching to or beyond apical pad of fifth digit; hairiness of foot soles slightly less than shown in figure 20.

    American Weasels E. Raymond Hall
British Dictionary definitions for carpal


  1. any bone of the wrist
  2. (as modifier): carpal bones
Also carpale (kɑːˈpeɪlɪ)
Word Origin
C18: from New Latin carpālis, from Greek karpos wrist
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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Word Origin and History for carpal

"of the wrist," 1743, from Modern Latin carpalis, from carpus "wrist" (see carpus). Carpal tunnel syndrome attested by 1970, from carpal tunnel, the tunnel-like passage that carries nerves through the wrist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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carpal in Medicine

carpal car·pal (kär'pəl)
Of, relating to, or near the carpus. n.
Any of the bones of the carpus, including the scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, pisiform, trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, and hamate bones.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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carpal in Science
Adjective  Relating to or involving the wrist.

Noun  Any of the bones of the human wrist or the joint corresponding to the wrist in some other vertebrates, such as dinosaurs.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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