[as-i-tab-yuh-luh m]
noun, plural ac·e·tab·u·la [as-i-tab-yuh-luh] /ˌæs ɪˈtæb yə lə/.
  1. Anatomy. the socket in the hipbone that receives the head of the thighbone.
  2. Zoology. any of the suction appendages of a leech, octopus, etc.

Origin of acetabulum

1660–70; < Latin: hip socket, cup-shaped part of a plant (Pliny), literally, small cup, orig. for vinegar, equivalent to acēt(um) vinegar + -ā- by analogy with verbal derivatives (cf. vocable) + -bulum suffix denoting instrument or vessel
Related formsac·e·tab·u·lar, adjectivepost·ac·e·tab·u·lar, adjectivepre·ac·e·tab·u·lar, adjectivesub·ac·e·tab·u·lar, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for acetabulum

Historical Examples of acetabulum

British Dictionary definitions for acetabulum


noun plural -la (-lə)
  1. the deep cuplike cavity on the side of the hipbone that receives the head of the thighbone
  2. a round muscular sucker in flatworms, leeches, and cephalopod molluscs
  3. the aperture in the thorax of an insect that holds the leg

Word Origin for acetabulum

Latin: vinegar cup, hence a cuplike cavity, from acētum vinegar + -abulum, suffix denoting a container
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

acetabulum in Medicine


n. pl. ac•e•tab•u•la (-lə)
  1. The cup-shaped cavity at the base of the hipbone into which the ball-shaped head of the femur fits.cotyloid cavity
Related formsac′e•tabu•lar adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.