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[met-uh-kahr-puh s] /ˌmɛt əˈkɑr pəs/
noun, plural metacarpi
[met-uh-kahr-pahy] /ˌmɛt əˈkɑr paɪ/ (Show IPA).
the part of a hand or forelimb, especially of its bony structure, included between the wrist, or carpus, and the fingers, or phalanges.
Origin of metacarpus
1670-80; < New Latin (see meta-, carpus), replacing metacarpium < Greek metakárpion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for metacarpus
Historical Examples
  • Common examples are in fractures of the metacarpus and metatarsus of the first phalanx.

    Lameness of the Horse John Victor Lacroix
  • The metacarpus consists of bones which correspond to the back of the hand.

    Dragons of the Air H. G. Seeley
  • It is somewhat remarkable how often this occurred when the short hard bones of the metacarpus were struck.

  • The metacarpus is formed of three bones: the principal metacarpal and the two rudimentary ones.

  • In Palamedea and some other birds the metacarpus bears a bony outgrowth, which when sheathed in horn forms a spur.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton Sidney H. Reynolds
  • The external rudimentary metatarsal is better developed than the internal; in the metacarpus the reverse is the case.

  • The metacarpus is reduced to a single piece, which in the horse constitutes what is known as the canon.

  • This is why, as we have pointed out above, it receives the name of the oblique flexor of the metacarpus.

  • The sagittal crest is less marked; the fifth digit is reduced to a tiny nodule representing the metacarpus.

  • The whole finger is preserved in other specimens straightened out so as to be in line with the metacarpus.

    Dragons of the Air H. G. Seeley
British Dictionary definitions for metacarpus


noun (pl) -pi (-paɪ)
the skeleton of the hand between the wrist and the fingers, consisting of five long bones
the corresponding bones in other vertebrates
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 metacarpus

1650s, Modern Latin, from Greek metakarpion, from meta- (see meta-) + karpos "wrist" (see carpus). Related: Metacarpal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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metacarpus in Medicine

metacarpus met·a·car·pus (mět'ə-kär'pəs)
n. pl. met·a·car·pi (-pī)
The part of the hand that includes the five bones between the fingers and the wrist.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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