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[met-uh-kahr-puh s]
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noun, plural met·a·car·pi [met-uh-kahr-pahy] /ˌmɛt əˈkɑr paɪ/. Anatomy.
  1. the part of a hand or forelimb, especially of its bony structure, included between the wrist, or carpus, and the fingers, or phalanges.
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Origin of metacarpus

1670–80; < New Latin (see meta-, carpus), replacing metacarpium < Greek metakárpion
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for metacarpus

Historical Examples

  • Fracture of the Metacarpus, showing Fragmentation of the Bullet194 12.

    Surgical Experiences in South Africa, 1899-1900

    George Henry Makins

  • In them not only is the metacarpus turned back, but also the two first phalanges.

  • But the other variations are in the length of the metacarpus, or of the neck, or head.

    Dragons of the Air

    H. G. Seeley

  • The metacarpus consists of bones which correspond to the back of the hand.

    Dragons of the Air

    H. G. Seeley

  • The metacarpus is reduced to a single piece, which in the horse constitutes what is known as the canon.

British Dictionary definitions for metacarpus


noun plural -pi (-paɪ)
  1. the skeleton of the hand between the wrist and the fingers, consisting of five long bones
  2. the corresponding bones in other vertebrates
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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 metacarpus


1650s, Modern Latin, from Greek metakarpion, from meta- (see meta-) + karpos "wrist" (see carpus). Related: Metacarpal.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

metacarpus in Medicine


n. pl. met•a•car•pi (-pī)
  1. The part of the hand that includes the five bones between the fingers and the wrist.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.