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[trih-fahyn, -feen] /trɪˈfaɪn, -ˈfin/ Surgery
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), trephined, trephining.
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 forms
[tref-uh-ney-shuh n] /ˌtrɛf əˈneɪ ʃən/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for trephination


a surgical sawlike instrument for removing circular sections of bone, esp from the skull
(transitive) to remove a circular section of bone from (esp the skull)
Also called trepan
Derived Forms
trephination (ˌtrɛfɪˈneɪʃən) noun
Word Origin
C17: from French tréphine, from obsolete English trefinetrepan1, allegedly from Latin trēs fīnēs literally: three ends; influenced also by English trepanetrepan1
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 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
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trephination in Medicine

trephination treph·i·na·tion (trěf'ə-nā'shən)
Removal of a circular piece of bone, especially of the skull, by a trephine. Also called trepanation.

trephine tre·phine (trĭ-fīn')
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. v. tre·phined, tre·phin·ing, tre·phines
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.
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