hip·​po·​cam·​pus | \ ˌhi-pə-ˈkam-pəs How to pronounce hippocampus (audio) \
plural hippocampi\ ˌhi-​pə-​ˈkam-​ˌpī How to pronounce hippocampi (audio) , -​(ˌ)pē \

Definition of hippocampus

: a curved elongated ridge that extends over the floor of the descending horn of each lateral ventricle of the brain, that consists of gray matter covered on the ventricular surface with white matter, and that is involved in forming, storing, and processing memory

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from hippocampus

hippocampal \ ˌhi-​pə-​ˈkam-​pəl How to pronounce hippocampal (audio) \ adjective

Examples of hippocampus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

That suggests that other factors — for example, brain metabolism, or the volume of the brain’s memory center, the hippocampus — could link depression and mental decline. chicagotribune.com, "Depression, Alzheimer’s might be part of same process in some aging brains: Study," 22 Aug. 2019 Memories are coded into brain cells in the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center. Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, "How Exercise May Help the Memory Grow Stronger," 21 Feb. 2018 The tumor, which turned out to be cancerous, was in my left temporal lobe, specifically the hippocampus and amygdala. Health.com, "For 6 Years, Doctors Kept Telling Me I Had PMS—but It Turned Out to Be Brain Cancer," 31 July 2019 The hippocampus is a small curl of brain, which nests beneath each temple. Bret Stetka, Scientific American, "Our Brain Uses a Not-So-Instant Replay to Make Decisions," 27 June 2019 That timeline could be of use not just to episodic memory in the hippocampus, but to working memory in the prefrontal cortex and conditioning responses in the striatum. Jordana Cepelewicz, WIRED, "How the Brain Keeps Its Memories in the Right Order," 17 Feb. 2019 The hippocampus plays an important role in learning and memory formation. Time, "Is Sugar as Bad for Kids as It Is for Adults?," 1 Aug. 2019 So the hippocampus keeps track of where all of that stuff is. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Is GPS really ruining our brains?," 24 July 2019 Complaining has been found to shrink the hippocampus, the area of the brain critical to problem solving and intelligent thought, by physically peeling away neurons. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Stop Complaining, It’s Literally Shrinking Your Brain," 17 July 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of hippocampus

1695, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hippocampus

New Latin, from Greek hippokampos seahorse, from hippos horse + kampos sea monster — more at equine

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hippocampus

Statistics for hippocampus

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hippocampus

The first known use of hippocampus was in 1695

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hippocampus


hip·​po·​cam·​pus | \ ˌhip-ə-ˈkam-pəs How to pronounce hippocampus (audio) \
plural hippocampi\ -​ˌpī How to pronounce hippocampi (audio) , -​(ˌ)pē How to pronounce hippocampi (audio) \

Medical Definition of hippocampus

: a curved elongated ridge that is an important part of the limbic system, extends over the floor of the descending horn of each lateral ventricle of the brain, consists of gray matter covered on the ventricular surface with white matter, and is involved in forming, storing, and processing memory — see pes hippocampi

More from Merriam-Webster on hippocampus

Nglish: Translation of hippocampus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hippocampus

Comments on hippocampus

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


recurring in steady succession

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!