decussate

1 of 2

verb

de·​cus·​sate ˈde-kə-ˌsāt How to pronounce decussate (audio) di-ˈkə-ˌsāt How to pronounce decussate (audio)
decussated; decussating

decussate

2 of 2

adjective

de·​cus·​sate ˈde-kə-ˌsāt How to pronounce decussate (audio)
di-ˈkə-sət
: arranged in pairs each at right angles to the next pair above or below
decussate leaves

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The history of decussate leads us back to the intersection of decem, a word meaning "ten," and ass-, a form that refers to a unit of weight and specifically to a copper coin cut to a half-ounce. In the Roman numeral system the number 10 is represented by X, an intersection of two lines. A man named Sir Thomas Browne coined decussate in the 17th century to discuss the crossing fibers that make up human anatomy-for instance, skin tissue. The word continues to be found primarily in scientific contexts today.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Latin decussatus, past participle of decussare to arrange crosswise, from decussis the number ten, numeral X, intersection, from decem + ass-, as unit — more at ace

First Known Use

Verb

1658, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

circa 1823, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of decussate was in 1658

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Dictionary Entries Near decussate

Cite this Entry

“Decussate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decussate. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition

decussate

verb
de·​cus·​sate ˈdek-ə-ˌsāt How to pronounce decussate (audio) di-ˈkəs-ˌāt How to pronounce decussate (audio)
decussated; decussating
: to intersect in the form of an X

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