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See more synonyms for maxilla on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural max·il·lae [mak-sil-ee] /mækˈsɪl i/.
  1. a jaw or jawbone, especially the upper.
  2. one of the paired appendages immediately behind the mandibles of arthropods.
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Origin of maxilla

1670–80; < New Latin, special use of Latin maxilla lower jaw, diminutive of māla (< *maxlā) upper jaw, cheekbone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

mouth, bone, orifice, muzzle, jowl, maxilla, mandible

Examples from the Web for maxilla

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for maxilla


noun plural -lae (-liː)
  1. the upper jawbone in vertebratesSee jaw (def. 1)
  2. any member of one or two pairs of mouthparts in insects and other arthropods used as accessory jaws
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Derived Formsmaxillar (mækˈsɪlə) or maxillary, adjective

Word Origin

C17: New Latin, from Latin: jaw
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 maxilla


"jaw, jawbone," 1670s, from Latin maxilla "upper jaw," diminutive of mala "jaw, cheekbone." "Maxilla stands to mala as axilla, 'armpit,' stands to ala 'wing'" [Klein]. Related: Maxillar; maxilliform.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

maxilla in Medicine


n. pl. max•il•las
  1. Either of a pair of irregularly shaped bones of the skull, fusing in the midline, supporting the upper teeth, and forming part of the eye sockets, hard palate, and nasal cavity; upper jaw.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

maxilla in Science


Plural maxillae (măk-sĭlē) maxillas
  1. The upper part of the jaw in vertebrate animals.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.