[ mak-sil-uh ]
/ mækˈsɪl ə /

noun, plural max·il·lae [mak-sil-ee] /mækˈsɪl i/.

a jaw or jawbone, especially the upper.
one of the paired appendages immediately behind the mandibles of arthropods.


Nearby words

  1. max müller,
  2. max out,
  3. max.,
  4. maxi,
  5. maxi-,
  6. maxillae,
  7. maxillary,
  8. maxillary antrum,
  9. maxillary artery,
  10. maxillary dentition

Origin of maxilla

1670–80; < New Latin, special use of Latin maxilla lower jaw, diminutive of māla (< *maxlā) upper jaw, cheekbone Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for maxilla

British Dictionary definitions for maxilla


/ (mækˈsɪlə) /

noun plural -lae (-liː)

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

Word Origin for maxilla

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for maxilla


[ măk-sĭlə ]

n. pl. max•il•las

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.

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

Science definitions for maxilla


[ măk-sĭlə ]

Plural maxillae (măk-sĭlē) maxillas

The upper part of the jaw in vertebrate animals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.