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[mak-sil-uh] /mækˈsɪl ə/
noun, plural maxillae
[mak-sil-ee] /mækˈsɪl i/ (Show IPA)
a jaw or jawbone, especially the upper.
one of the paired appendages immediately behind the mandibles of arthropods.
Origin of maxilla
1670-80; < New Latin, special use of Latin maxilla lower jaw, diminutive of māla (< *maxlā) upper jaw, cheekbone Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for maxilla


noun (pl) -lae (-liː)
the upper jawbone in vertebrates See jaw (sense 1)
any member of one or two pairs of mouthparts in insects and other arthropods used as accessory jaws
Derived Forms
maxillar (mækˈsɪlə), maxillary, adjective
Word Origin
C17: New Latin, from Latin: jaw
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 maxilla

"jaw, jawbone," 1670s, from Latin maxilla "upper jaw," diminutive of mala "jaw, cheekbone." "Maxilla stands to mala as axilla, 'armpit,' stands to ala 'wing'" [Klein]. Related: Maxillar; maxilliform.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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maxilla in Medicine

maxilla max·il·la (māk-sĭl'ə)
n. pl. max·il·las or max·il·lae (māk-sĭl'ē)
Either of a pair of irregularly shaped bones of the skull, fusing in the midline, supporting the upper teeth, and forming part of the eye sockets, hard palate, and nasal cavity; upper jaw.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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maxilla in Science
Plural maxillae (māk-sĭl'ē) or maxillas
The upper part of the jaw in vertebrate animals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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