[ in-ter-kos-tl, -kaw-stl ]
/ ˌɪn tərˈkɒs tl, -ˈkɔ stl /


pertaining to muscles, parts, or intervals between the ribs.
situated between the ribs.
Shipbuilding. noting a structural member situated between or divided by continuous members, as frames or keelsons.


an intercostal muscle, member, or space.

Nearby words

  1. intercontinental,
  2. intercontinental ballistic missile,
  3. interconversion,
  4. interconvert,
  5. intercooler,
  6. intercostal artery,
  7. intercostal membrane,
  8. intercostal nerve,
  9. intercostal space,
  10. intercostobrachial nerve

Origin of intercostal

From the New Latin word intercostālis, dating back to 1590–1600. See inter-, costal

Related formsin·ter·cos·tal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for intercostal

British Dictionary definitions for intercostal


/ (ˌɪntəˈkɒstəl) /


anatomy between the ribsintercostal muscles

Word Origin for intercostal

C16: via New Latin from Latin inter- + costa rib

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 intercostal



"between the ribs," 1590s; see inter- + costal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for intercostal


[ ĭn′tər-kŏstəl ]


Located or occurring between the ribs.


A space, muscle, or part situated between the ribs.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.