• synonyms


[ing-kuh s]
noun, plural in·cu·des [in-kyoo-deez] /ɪnˈkyu diz/ for 1; in·cus for 2.
  1. Anatomy. the middle one of a chain of three small bones in the middle ear of humans and other mammals.Compare malleus, stapes.
  2. Also called anvil, anvil cloud, anvil top, thunderhead. the spreading, anvil-shaped, upper portion of a mature cumulonimbus cloud, smooth or slightly fibrous in appearance.
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Origin of incus

1660–70; < New Latin, Latin incūs anvil, equivalent to incūd- (stem of incūdere to hammer, beat upon) + -s nominative singular ending; see incuse
Related formsin·cu·date [ing-kyuh-deyt, -dit, in-] /ˈɪŋ kyəˌdeɪt, -dɪt, ˈɪn-/, in·cu·dal [ing-kyuh-dl, in-] /ˈɪŋ kyə dl, ˈɪn-/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for incus

Historical Examples

  • The stapes forms a close connection with the hammer and the incus.

    Form and Function

    E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell

  • The short limb of the incus is broad at the base and tapers distally.

  • The long limb of the incus is angular and longer than that of Zapus.

  • The incus, or anvil-bone, may be formed from part of Meckel's cartilage.

  • The incus is articulated, or often fused, with an outgrowth from the head of the malleus.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton

    Sidney H. Reynolds

British Dictionary definitions for incus


noun plural incudes (ɪnˈkjuːdiːz)
  1. the central of the three small bones in the middle ear of mammalsNontechnical name: anvil Compare malleus, stapes
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Derived Formsincudate (ˈɪŋkjʊˌdeɪt) or incudal (ˈɪŋkjʊdəl), adjective

Word Origin

C17: from Latin: anvil, from incūdere to forge
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 incus


ear bone, 1660s, from Latin incus "anvil," from incudere "to forge with a hammer." So called by Belgian anatomist Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

incus in Medicine


n. pl. in•cu•des (ĭng-kyōōdēz)
  1. The middle of the three ossicles in the middle ear, located between the malleus and the stapes and composed of a body and two limbs.anvil
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

incus in Science


Plural incudes (ĭng-kyōōdēz)
  1. The anvil-shaped bone (ossicle) that lies between the malleus and the stapes in the middle ear.
  2. The elongated, often anvil-shaped upper portion of a fully developed cumulonimbus cloud; a thunderhead.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.