interdigitate was our Word of the Day on 01/16/2010. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that interdigitate comes from the prefix inter-, as in interlock, and the Latin word digitus, meaning "finger." Digitus also gave us digit, which is used in English today to refer to (among other things) the finger or toe of any animal. "Interdigitate" usually suggests an interlocking of things with fingerlike projections, such as muscle fibers or the teeth of an old-fashioned bear trap. The word can also be used figuratively to imply a smooth interweaving of disparate things, such as the blending of two cultures within a shared region.
Origin and Etymology of interdigitate
inter- + Latin digitus finger — more at toe
First Known Use: circa 1849
Medical Definition of interdigitate
1: to become interlocked like the fingers of folded hands thick myosin filaments interdigitate with the thin actin filaments—J. M. Squire
2: to undergo intercuspation these teeth do not interdigitate completely—J. A. Glassman
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