noun, plural sta·pes, sta·pe·des [stuh-pee-deez] /stəˈpi diz/. Anatomy.
  1. the innermost, stirrup-shaped bone of a chain of three small bones in the middle ear of humans and other mammals, involved in the conduction of sound vibrations to the inner ear.Also called stirrup.Compare incus(def 1), malleus.

Origin of stapes

1660–70; < New Latin stapēs, Medieval Latin: stirrup, perhaps etymologizing alteration of Italian staffa stirrup (< Germanic) by association with Latin stāre to stand, and pēs, stem ped- foot
Related formssta·pe·di·al [stuh-pee-dee-uh l] /stəˈpi di əl/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for stapes

Historical Examples of stapes

British Dictionary definitions for stapes


noun plural stapes or stapedes (stæˈpiːdiːz)
  1. the stirrup-shaped bone that is the innermost of three small bones in the middle ear of mammalsNontechnical name: stirrup bone Compare incus, malleus
Derived Formsstapedial (stæˈpiːdɪəl), adjective

Word Origin for stapes

C17: via New Latin from Medieval Latin, perhaps a variant of staffa, stapeda stirrup, influenced in form by Latin stāre to stand + pēs a foot
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 stapes

"stirrup bone in the middle ear," 1660s, from Modern Latin (1560s), special use of Medieval Latin stapes "stirrup," probably an alteration of Late Latin stapia, related to stare "to stand" + pedem, accusative of pes "foot" (see foot). So called because the bone is shaped like a stirrup. This was an invented Medieval Latin word for "stirrup," for which there was no classical Latin word, as the ancients did not use stirrups.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

stapes in Medicine


n. pl. stapes
  1. The smallest of the three auditory ossicles, whose base fits into the oval window and whose head is articulated with the lenticular process of the long limb of the incus.stirrup
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

stapes in Science


Plural stapes stapedes (stāpĭ-dēz′)
  1. The roughly stirrup-shaped bone that is the innermost of the three small bones (ossicles) of the middle ear.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.