[ puh-tel-uh ]
See synonyms for patella on
noun,plural pa·tel·las, pa·tel·lae [puh-tel-ee]. /pəˈtɛl i/.
  1. Anatomy. the flat, movable bone at the front of the knee; kneecap.

  2. Biology. a panlike or cuplike formation.

  1. Zoology. any limpet of the family Patellidae.

  2. Archaeology. a small pan or shallow vessel.

Origin of patella

1665–75; <Latin, diminutive of patina, patena pan, literally, something wide open. See paten, -elle

Other words from patella

  • pa·tel·lar, adjective
  • post·pa·tel·lar, adjective
  • sub·pa·tel·lar, adjective

Words Nearby patella Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use patella in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for patella


/ (pəˈtɛlə) /

nounplural -lae (-liː)
  1. anatomy a small flat triangular bone in front of and protecting the knee joint: Nontechnical name: kneecap

  2. biology a cuplike structure, such as the spore-producing body of certain ascomycetous fungi

  1. archaeol a small pan

Origin of patella

C17: from Latin, from patina shallow pan

Derived forms of patella

  • patellar, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for patella


[ pə-tĕlə ]

Plural patellae (pə-tĕlē)
  1. The small, flat, movable bone at the front of the knee in most mammals. Also called kneecap See more at skeleton.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.