cra·ni·um | \ˈkrā-nē-əm \
plural craniums or crania\ˈkrā-nē-ə \

Definition of cranium 

: skull specifically : the part that encloses the brain : braincase

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Synonyms for cranium



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Examples of cranium in a Sentence

the cranium of a Neanderthal is striking for its brow ridges

Recent Examples on the Web

Stone Age humans used the whole animal, commonly crushing the cranium to extract the animal’s tongue and brain. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Did a Prehistoric Brain Surgeon Practice on This Cow?," 25 Apr. 2018 That is when, according to the fossil record, the craniums of mankind’s ancestors started expanding. The Economist, "A history of big-headedness," 31 May 2018 The explosion sent two pieces of the vape pen into the D'Elia's cranium, the autopsy found. CBS News, "Shrapnel from exploding vape pen killed Florida man, autopsy report says," 16 May 2018 But complete craniums are a rare find; these animals were raised as food, and their skulls were usually broken to retrieve the tongue and brain, the study said. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Skull surgery was performed on this Stone Age cow, study says," 19 Apr. 2018 Beaux’s sunken cranium and too-close eyes are the result of sharing his mother’s womb with six other puppies, and have no effect on his health or mental capabilities. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Abandoned Labrador Finds a Loving Texan Mom," 26 Apr. 2018 After the cow's skull was uncovered at Champ-Durand, a 1999 study suggested that the hole in the cranium was the result of the cow being gored by another cow. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Skull surgery was performed on this Stone Age cow, study says," 19 Apr. 2018 In the popular conception, a concussion occurs when the cranium comes to a sudden stop and the brain crashes into it, like a car driver flying into the dashboard. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Concussions originate from ringing deep inside the brain, modeling suggests," 30 Mar. 2018 Pappu and her team note in their paper that only one archaic human fossil, the Narmada cranium, has ever been discovered in India. Annalee Newitz, Ars Technica, "Ancient tools found in India undermine the “out of Africa” hypothesis," 31 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cranium.' 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 cranium

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cranium

Medieval Latin, from Greek kranion; akin to Greek kara head — more at cerebral

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Time Traveler for cranium

The first known use of cranium was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for cranium


cra·ni·um | \ˈkrā-nē-əm \
plural craniums or crania\-nē-ə \

Kids Definition of cranium

1 : skull

2 : the part of the skull enclosing the brain


cra·ni·um | \ˈkrā-nē-əm \
plural craniums or -nia\-nē-ə \

Medical Definition of cranium 

: skull specifically : braincase

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More from Merriam-Webster on cranium

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cranium

Spanish Central: Translation of cranium

Nglish: Translation of cranium for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about cranium

Comments on cranium

What made you want to look up cranium? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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