maxilla

noun

max·​il·​la mak-ˈsi-lə How to pronounce maxilla (audio)
plural maxillae mak-ˈsi-(ˌ)lē How to pronounce maxilla (audio)
-ˌlī
or maxillas
1
b(1)
: an upper jaw especially of humans and other mammals in which the bony elements are closely fused
(2)
: either of the two bones that lie with one on each side of the upper jaw lateral to the premaxilla and that in higher vertebrates bear most of the teeth
2
: one of the first or second pair of mouthparts posterior to the mandibles in many arthropods (such as insects or crustaceans)
maxillary
ˈmak-sə-ˌler-ē How to pronounce maxilla (audio)
 chiefly British  mak-ˈsi-lə-rē
adjective or noun

Examples of maxilla in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Cook County Sheriff’s Office decided to reopen the Gacy file in 2011 as a cold case, exhuming bone fragments and sending eight sets of mandibles and maxilla to the CHI lab in Fort Worth for DNA processing. David Montesino, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 25 Jan. 2024 Rolf Quam, Binghamton University) Sink Your Teeth Into This One Known as Misliya-1, the partial maxilla, with several teeth preserved in situ, is 177,000 to 194,000 years old. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 25 Jan. 2018 Thomas' team looked at the maxilla, or the upper part of the dog's jaw, because those tooth roots are best for DNA sampling, and researchers were able to pull samples from three specimens. Saleen Martin, USA TODAY, 12 Jan. 2023 These more modern premaxilla, maxilla and dentary — collectively known as dermal marginal jaw bones — previously were seen only in bony fishes, or osteichthyans. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 25 Sep. 2013 Small skeletal details such as the shape of the upper jaw bone called the maxilla, the head of the thigh bone and the foot bones of Scleromochlus are similar to those of other reptiles proposed to be related to pterosaur origins. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Oct. 2022 The front of his face — his nose, maxilla, sinuses, jaw — projected forward like a canine skull — what an anthropologist would call prognathous. Dwight Garner, New York Times, 23 Aug. 2021 Later today, Garvey will operate on a man with a more difficult case—a large tumor in the maxilla, or top jaw—as part of two surgical teams. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, 1 Feb. 2020 Bereino had found a maxilla, or upper jawbone, belonging to an ancient hominin. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, 28 Aug. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'maxilla.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from New Latin, going back to Latin, "jawbones, jaws, lower part of the face," diminutive from the base *smaksl- or *maksl- seen in māla "lower part of the face, jaws" — more at malar

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of maxilla was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near maxilla

Cite this Entry

“Maxilla.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/maxilla. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

maxilla

noun
max·​il·​la mak-ˈsil-ə How to pronounce maxilla (audio)
plural maxillae -ˈsil-ē How to pronounce maxilla (audio)
-ˈsil-ˌī
or maxillas
1
a
: an upper jaw especially of a mammal in which the bony parts are closely united
b
: either of the two bones of the upper jaw in higher vertebrates including human beings that bear most of the teeth
2
: one of the first or second pair of mouth appendages behind the mandibles in various arthropods
maxillary adjective or noun

Medical Definition

maxilla

noun
max·​il·​la mak-ˈsil-ə How to pronounce maxilla (audio)
plural maxillae -ˈsil-(ˌ)ē How to pronounce maxilla (audio) -ˌī How to pronounce maxilla (audio) or maxillas
1
2
a
: an upper jaw especially of humans or other mammals in which the bony elements are closely fused
b
: either of two membrane bone elements of the upper jaw that lie lateral to the premaxillae and that in higher vertebrates including humans bear most of the teeth
3
: one of the first or second pair of mouthparts posterior to the mandibles in insects, myriopods, crustaceans and closely related arthropods

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