• synonyms


  1. of or relating to the shoulders or the scapula or scapulae.
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Origin of scapular1

From the New Latin word scapulāris, dating back to 1680–90. See scapula, -ar1


  1. Ecclesiastical. a loose, sleeveless monastic garment, hanging from the shoulders.
  2. two small pieces of woolen cloth, joined by strings passing over the shoulders, worn under the ordinary clothing as a badge of affiliation with a religious order, a token of devotion, etc.
  3. Anatomy, Zoology. scapula.
  4. Ornithology. one of the scapular feathers.
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Origin of scapular2

1475–85; < Medieval Latin scapulāre, noun use of neuter of scapulāris (adj.). See scapular1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scapular

Historical Examples

  • He hated the crucifix, he hated the scapular, he hated the priests.

    Shapes that Haunt the Dusk


  • Other Sisters wear a scapular with shoulder-straps, over a white cape.

    The Heritage of Dress

    Wilfred Mark Webb

  • It was you, then, who took the scapular from me at the embassy?

  • There exists, therefore, in an independent form, the scapular portion only.

  • Thus the clavicular arch is placed in front of the scapular arch.

    Dragons of the Air

    H. G. Seeley

British Dictionary definitions for scapular


  1. anatomy of or relating to the scapula
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  1. part of the monastic habit worn by members of many Christian, esp Roman Catholic, religious orders, consisting of a piece of woollen cloth worn over the shoulders, and hanging down in front and behind to the ankles
  2. two small rectangular pieces of woollen cloth joined by tapes passing over the shoulders and worn under secular clothes in token of affiliation to a religious order
  3. any of the small feathers that are attached to the humerus of a bird and lie along the shoulder
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Also called (for senses 2, 3): scapulary
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 scapular


1680s, "pertaining to the scapula," from Modern Latin scapularis, from Latin scapula "shoulder" (see scapula). The noun (late 15c., also in Old English) in reference to a short cloak for the shoulders prescribed for certain monks, is from Medieval Latin scapulare, from scapula. Related: Scapulary.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

scapular in Medicine


  1. Of or relating to the shoulder or scapula.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.