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See more synonyms for fossa on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural fos·sae [fos-ee] /ˈfɒs i/. Anatomy.
  1. a pit, cavity, or depression, as in a bone.
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Origin of fossa1

1820–30; < Latin: ditch, trench, fosse, short for fossa (terra) dug or dug out (earth), noun use of feminine of fossus, past participle of fodere to dig


  1. a forest-dwelling genetlike mammal, Cryptoprocta ferox, of the civet family, native to Madagascar, with a short coat of white, black, gray, or brown: now rare.
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Origin of fossa2

1830–40; < Malagasy; compare earlier fossane (< French < Malagasy)
Also called fossa cat.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fossae

Historical Examples

  • These fossae and all the cranium posterior to them are missing.

    American Weasels

    E. Raymond Hall

  • On the cranial surface of the pinna elevations correspond to the concha and to the fossae 792 of the helix and antihelix.

  • The distance between the temporal ridges about four-fifths the width of the cranium at the fossae.

    Extinct Birds

    Walter Rothschild

British Dictionary definitions for fossae


noun plural -sae (-siː)
  1. an anatomical depression, trench, or hollow area
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Word Origin

C19: from Latin: ditch, from fossus dug up, from fodere to dig up


  1. a large primitive catlike viverrine mammal, Cryptoprocta ferox, inhabiting the forests of Madagascar: order Carnivora (carnivores). It has thick reddish-brown fur and preys on lemurs, poultry, etc
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Word Origin

from Malagasy
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

fossae in Medicine


n. pl. fos•sae (fŏsē′)
  1. A small longitudinal cavity or depression, as in a bone.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.