ball-and-socket joint


Definition of ball-and-socket joint 

1 : a joint in which a ball moves within a socket so as to allow rotary motion in every direction within certain limits

2 : an articulation (such as the hip joint) in which the rounded head of one bone fits into a cuplike cavity of the other and admits movement in any direction

Illustration of ball-and-socket joint

Illustration of ball-and-socket joint

ball-and-socket joint 1

Examples of ball-and-socket joint in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The ball of this ball-and-socket joint had been flattened by wear and tear, and its no-longer-smooth surface was now in direct contact with the bony cup of the socket. Lisa Sanders, New York Times, "The Patient Had Pain When He Walked, but There Was a More Telling Change," 27 June 2018 And this finger is articulated by sitting on a ball-and-socket joint, allowing it to move and swivel a full 360 degrees. Ralph Steadman, Discover Magazine, "Where the Wild Things Aren't," 1 Mar. 2018 For example, a hinge has one degree of freedom while a ball-and-socket joint has three. James Gorman, New York Times, "How It Works: The Large Mouth of the Largemouth Bass," 26 Dec. 2017 The hip is a ball-and-socket joint that allows controlled movement of the leg. Elizabeth Millard, SELF, "This Athlete Was Born Without Hip Sockets—and Now She's Running Her First Marathon," 3 Nov. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ball-and-socket joint.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ball-and-socket joint

1779, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for ball-and-socket joint

The first known use of ball-and-socket joint was in 1779

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More Definitions for ball-and-socket joint

ball-and-socket joint


Kids Definition of ball-and-socket joint

: a joint (as in the shoulder) in which a rounded part can move in many directions in a socket

ball-and-socket joint


Medical Definition of ball-and-socket joint 

: an articulation (as the hip joint) in which the rounded head of one bone fits into a cuplike cavity of the other and admits movement in any direction

called also enarthrosis

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obstinately defiant of authority

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