[ kahr-tl-ij, kahrt-lij ]
See synonyms for cartilage on
nounAnatomy, Zoology.
  1. a firm, elastic, flexible type of connective tissue of a translucent whitish or yellowish color; gristle.

  2. a part or structure composed of cartilage.

Origin of cartilage

1350–1400; Middle English (<Middle French ) <Latin cartilāgō gristle

Words Nearby cartilage Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cartilage in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cartilage


/ (ˈkɑːtɪlɪdʒ, ˈkɑːtlɪdʒ) /

  1. a tough elastic tissue composing most of the embryonic skeleton of vertebrates. In the adults of higher vertebrates it is mostly converted into bone, remaining only on the articulating ends of bones, in the thorax, trachea, nose, and ears: Nontechnical name: gristle

Origin of cartilage

C16: from Latin cartilāgō

Derived forms of cartilage

  • cartilaginous (ˌkɑːtɪˈlædʒɪnəs), adjective

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

Scientific definitions for cartilage


[ kärtl-ĭj ]

  1. A strong, flexible connective tissue that is found in various parts of the body, including the joints, the outer ear, and the larynx. During the embryonic development of most vertebrates, the skeleton forms as cartilage before most of it hardens into bone. In cartilaginous fish, the mature fish retains a skeleton made of cartilage.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for cartilage


[ (kahr-tl-ij) ]

A kind of tough but elastic connective tissue that can withstand considerable pressure. It makes up portions of the skeletal system, such as the linings of the joints, where it cushions against shock. Cartilage is also found in other body structures, such as the nose and external ear.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.