• synonyms


[trih-fahyn, -feen]Surgery
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  1. a small circular saw with a center pin mounted on a strong hollow metal shaft to which is attached a transverse handle: used in surgery to remove circular disks of bone from the skull.
verb (used with object), tre·phined, tre·phin·ing.
  1. to operate upon with a trephine.

Origin of trephine

1620–30; spelling variant of trefine, orig. trafine, blend of trapan (variant of trepan1) and Latin phrase trēs fīnēs three ends (the inventor's explanation)
Related formstreph·i·na·tion [tref-uh-ney-shuh n] /ˌtrɛf əˈneɪ ʃən/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for trephination


  1. a surgical sawlike instrument for removing circular sections of bone, esp from the skull
  1. (tr) to remove a circular section of bone from (esp the skull)
Also called: trepan
Derived Formstrephination (ˌtrɛfɪˈneɪʃən), noun

Word Origin

C17: from French tréphine, from obsolete English trefine trepan 1, allegedly from Latin trēs fīnēs literally: three ends; influenced also by English trepane trepan 1
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

Word Origin and History for trephination


1874, from trephine (v.), 1804, from trephine (n.), 1620s, said to be from Latin tres fines "three ends," with form apparently influenced by trepan. Related: Trephining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

trephination in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. Removal of a circular piece of bone, especially of the skull, by a trephine.trepanation


([object Object])
  1. A cylindrical or crown saw for the removal of a disk of bone, especially from the skull, or removal of other firm tissue such as that of the cornea.
  1. To operate on with a trephine.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.