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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for metacarpus
Historical Examples
  • Fracture of the metacarpus, showing Fragmentation of the Bullet194 12.

  • In them not only is the metacarpus turned back, but also the two first phalanges.

  • The metacarpus consists of bones which correspond to the back of the hand.

    Dragons of the Air H. G. Seeley
  • But the other variations are in the length of the metacarpus, or of the neck, or head.

    Dragons of the Air H. G. Seeley
  • The metacarpus is reduced to a single piece, which in the horse constitutes what is known as the canon.

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

  • The external rudimentary metatarsal is better developed than the internal; in the metacarpus the reverse is the case.

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

  • The four bones of the wing finger measure, from the point where the first bone bends upon the metacarpus, less than 18 inches.

    Dragons of the Air H. G. Seeley
  • The chief point of variation from the Pterodactyle wing is in the relative length of the metacarpus in Dimorphodon.

    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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