• synonyms


noun, plural sym·phy·ses [sim-fuh-seez] /ˈsɪm fəˌsiz/. Anatomy, Zoology.
  1. the growing together, or the fixed or nearly fixed union, of bones, as that of the two halves of the lower jaw in humans or of the pubic bones in the anterior part of the pelvic girdle.
  2. a line of junction or articulation so formed.
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Origin of symphysis

1570–80; < New Latin < Greek sýmphysis a growing together, equivalent to sym- sym- + phýsis, equivalent to phy-, stem of phȳ́ein to grow (see be) + -sis -sis
Related formssym·phys·tic [sim-fis-tik] /sɪmˈfɪs tɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for symphysis

Historical Examples

  • The symphysis is long, contracted, and hollowed out in the shape of a ladle.

    Extinct Birds

    Walter Rothschild

  • The symphysis in the adult Oregon specimen of stejnegeri is 140 mm.

  • Both pubis and ischium contribute to the symphysis which is often very long.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton

    Sidney H. Reynolds

  • The symphysis is long and includes part of both pubis and ischium.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton

    Sidney H. Reynolds

  • The symphysis is rather short and formed by the pubis alone.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton

    Sidney H. Reynolds

British Dictionary definitions for symphysis


noun plural -ses (-ˌsiːz)
  1. anatomy botany a growing together of parts or structures, such as two bony surfaces joined by an intermediate layer of fibrous cartilage
  2. a line marking this growing together
  3. pathol an abnormal adhesion of two or more parts or structures
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Derived Formssymphysial or symphyseal (sɪmˈfɪzɪəl), adjectivesymphystic (sɪmˈfɪstɪk) or symphytic, adjective

Word Origin

C16: via New Latin from Greek sumphusis, from sumphuein, from syn- + phuein to grow
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 symphysis


Modern Latin, from Greek symphysis "a growing together," from syn "together" (see syn-) + physis "growth" (see physics).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

symphysis in Medicine


n. pl. sym•phy•ses (-sēz′)
  1. A form of cartilaginous joint in which union between two bones is effected by fibrocartilage without a synovial membrane.
  2. A union, meeting point, or commissure of two structures.
  3. A growing together of bones originally separate, as of the two pubic bones.
  4. A line or junction thus formed.
  5. A pathological adhesion or growing together.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.