[klav-i-kuh l]
noun Anatomy, Zoology.
  1. a bone of the pectoral arch.
  2. (in humans) either of two slender bones, each articulating with the sternum and a scapula and forming the anterior part of a shoulder; collarbone.

Origin of clavicle

1605–15; < Medieval Latin clāvicula collarbone, Latin: tendril, door-bolt, little key, equivalent to clāvi(s) key + -cula -cule1
Related formscla·vic·u·lar [kluh-vik-yuh-ler] /kləˈvɪk yə lər/, adjectivecla·vic·u·late [kluh-vik-yuh-leyt] /kləˈvɪk yəˌleɪt/, adjectivesub·cla·vic·u·lar, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for subclavicular


  1. either of the two bones connecting the shoulder blades with the upper part of the breastboneNontechnical name: collarbone
  2. the corresponding structure in other vertebrates
Derived Formsclavicular (kləˈvɪkjʊlə), adjectiveclaviculate (kləˈvɪkjʊˌleɪt), adjective

Word Origin for clavicle

C17: from Medieval Latin clāvicula, from Latin clāvis key
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 subclavicular



"collarbone," 1610s, from Middle French clavicule "collarbone" (16c.), also "small key," from Medieval Latin clavicula "collarbone" (used c.980 in a translation of Avicenna), special use of classical Latin clavicula, literally "small key, bolt," diminutive of clavis "key" (see slot (n.2)); in the anatomical sense a loan-translation of Greek kleis "key, collarbone." So called supposedly from its function as the "fastener" of the shoulder. Related: Clavicular.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

subclavicular in Medicine


  1. Either of two slender bones that extend from the manubrium of the sternum to the acromion of the scapula.collarbone
Related formscla•vicu•lar (klə-vĭkyə-lər) adj.cla•vicu•late′ (-lāt′) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

subclavicular in Science


  1. Either of two slender bones that extend from the upper part of the sternum (breastbone) to the shoulder. Also called collarbone
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.