lig·​a·​ment | \ ˈli-gə-mənt How to pronounce ligament (audio) \

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 How to pronounce ligamentous (audio) \ adjective

Examples of ligament in a Sentence

He sprained ligaments in his knee.

Recent Examples on the Web

But there is plenty of interest in Syndergaard, who has been out since May 26 with a strained ligament in the index finger of his throwing hand, an injury that was not originally expected to sideline him this long. James Wagner, New York Times, "Mets Lose Again as They Plod Toward the Trade Deadline," 4 July 2018 Shohei Ohtani's grade 2 tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow is unrelated a previous grade 1 tear, reports FRS Network's Jon Heyman. Charlotte Carroll,, "Report: Shohei Ohtani's UCL Tear Isn't Related to Previous One," 14 June 2018 Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese two-way sensation whose brilliant performance as a pitcher and a hitter has captivated the baseball universe, has a grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Angels’ Shohei Ohtani Has Elbow Injury That Might Require Tommy John Surgery," 8 June 2018 Tyler Johnson underwent left thumb surgery to repair an ulnar collateral ligament on April 30 and is expected to remain in a cast for a few more weeks. Manny Navarro, miamiherald, "Heat's James Johnson reportedly had sports hernia surgery," 28 May 2018 Quinn suffered another last May, this time to the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Mike Sielski,, "After hard year, Roman Quinn and Dylan Cozens now playing catch-up for Phillies | Mike Sielski," 25 Feb. 2018 Also, during pregnancy, your body releases the hormone relaxin to loosen up the ligaments in joints in your pelvis so the baby can eventually fit through the birth canal. Korin Miller, SELF, "7 Ways to Make Sleep More Comfortable When You’re Pregnant," 31 Jan. 2019 To determine how much force will cause a high ankle sprain—an injury that occurs when enough torque is applied to tear the ligament that holds the ankle together—Dr. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "What’s the Stress Test for NFL Cleats?," 12 Oct. 2018 The Los Angeles Angels placed Shohei Ohtani on the disabled list with a grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to miss at least a month, the team announced on Friday. Scott Boeck, USA TODAY, "Angels' Shohei Ohtani placed on DL with elbow strain, out at least a month," 8 June 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

20 May 2019

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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 How to pronounce ligament (audio) \

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 How to pronounce ligament (audio) \

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).


a tendency to relapse

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