lig·​a·​ment | \ˈli-gə-mənt \

Definition of ligament 

1 : a tough fibrous band of tissue connecting the articular extremities of bones or supporting an organ in place

2 : a connecting or unifying bond the law of nations, the great ligament of mankind— Edmund Burke

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Other Words from ligament

ligamentous \ˌli-​gə-​ˈmen-​təs \ adjective

Examples of ligament in a Sentence

He sprained ligaments in his knee.

Recent Examples on the Web

Another potential factor is that structural components in your jaw, like ligaments, just happen to be extra-elastic and allow the lower half of your jaw to shift down more than normal, which might cause a popping sound, Dr. Voigt says. Korin Miller, SELF, "Uh, Is It a Problem If You Can 'Pop' Your Jaw?," 16 Nov. 2018 These robotics are meant to replicate the functionality of muscles, tendons, and ligaments by contracting and relaxing just like ordinary muscles in order to assist motion. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "This Robotic Underwear Wants to Help With Aches, Pains, and Poor Posture," 6 Sep. 2018 Most famously, Owens had nine receptions for 122 yards in Super Bowl XXXIX, just six weeks after tearing ligaments in his ankle and breaking his leg. Rob Tornoe,, "Terrell Owens makes 'unprecedented' move to rebuke the NFL Hall of Fame," 7 June 2018 The left-hander sustained a torn elbow ligament injury in FSU’s season opener against Xavier that forced him to undergo surgery and miss the rest of the 2018 season. Roy Parry,, "Seattle Mariners, FSU's Cal Raleigh reach deal before deadline," 7 July 2018 Non-surgical treatment options for tendon and ligament injuries typically may involve the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroid medication or injections., "Optimum Performance: PRP - A non-surgical option for mild joint trauma," 4 May 2018 Duranne’s injuries also were serious — five separate fractures to a single foot, a torn knee ligament, a broken nose and burns from the pavement to his face and hands. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "A pickup truck barreled down on this D.C. officer, leaving him with 37 broken bones," 28 Mar. 2018 Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards has elected to undergo Tommy John surgery for his damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will miss the remainder of the season . . ., "US Olympic Committee tabs Sarah Hirshland as its CEO," 13 July 2018 Angels pitcher Garrett Richards had an MRI of his right elbow Wednesday which revelaed damage to his ulnar collateral ligament, the team announced. Charlotte Carroll,, "Angels' Garrett Richards Has Damage to His UCL, May Need Surgery," 11 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ligament

Middle English, from Medieval Latin & Latin; Medieval Latin ligamentum, from Latin, band, tie, from ligare

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Statistics for ligament

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for ligament

The first known use of ligament was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for ligament



English Language Learners Definition of ligament

: a tough piece of tissue in your body that holds bones together or keeps an organ in place


lig·​a·​ment | \ˈli-gə-mənt \

Kids Definition of ligament

: a tough band of tissue that holds bones together or keeps an organ in place in the body


lig·​a·​ment | \ˈlig-ə-mənt \

Medical Definition of ligament 

1 : a tough band of tissue that serves to connect the articular extremities of bones or to support or retain an organ in place and is usually composed of coarse bundles of dense white fibrous tissue parallel or closely interlaced, pliant, and flexible, but not extensible

2 : any of various folds or bands of pleura, peritoneum, or mesentery connecting parts or organs

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More from Merriam-Webster on ligament

Spanish Central: Translation of ligament

Nglish: Translation of ligament for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ligament for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ligament

Comments on ligament

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


living or existing for a long time

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