in·​cus | \ ˈiŋ-kəs How to pronounce incus (audio) \
plural incudes\ iŋ-​ˈkyü-​(ˌ)dēz How to pronounce incudes (audio) , ˈiŋ-​kyə-​ˌdēz \

Definition of incus

: the middle bone of a chain of three small bones in the ear of a mammal

called also anvil

— see ear illustration

Examples of incus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The smallest bones are inside your ear, and they are known as the hammer (malleus), stirrup (stapes), and anvil (incus). Jason Bittel, Washington Post, "Celebrate your skeleton this Halloween," 20 Oct. 2019 The auditory ossicles of the middle ear – the malleus, incus and stapes – are the tiniest bones in the human body. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian, "Doctors Are 3D Printing Ear Bones To Help With Hearing Loss," 18 Dec. 2017

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

First Known Use of incus

1615, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for incus

New Latin, from Latin, anvil, from incudere

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Time Traveler for incus

Time Traveler

The first known use of incus was in 1615

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Cite this Entry

“Incus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for incus


in·​cus | \ ˈiŋ-kəs How to pronounce incus (audio) \
plural incudes\ iŋ-​ˈkyüd-​(ˌ)ēz How to pronounce incudes (audio) , ˈiŋ-​kyə-​ˌdēz How to pronounce incudes (audio) \

Medical Definition of incus

: the middle bone of the chain of three ossicles in the middle ear of a mammal resembling a premolar tooth with the body having a facet which articulates with the malleus and with the longer of the two widely separated crura having a process which articulates with the stapes

called also ambos, anvil

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