meta·​car·​pus ˌme-tə-ˈkär-pəs How to pronounce metacarpus (audio)
: the part of the hand or forefoot that contains the metacarpals

Word History


New Latin

First Known Use

1676, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of metacarpus was in 1676

Dictionary Entries Near metacarpus

Cite this Entry

“Metacarpus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


meta·​car·​pus ˌmet-ə-ˈkär-pəs How to pronounce metacarpus (audio)
: the part of the human hand or the front foot in quadrupeds between the carpus and the phalanges that contains five more or less elongated bones when all the digits are present (as in humans) but is modified in many animals by the loss or reduction of some bones or the fusing of adjacent bones

More from Merriam-Webster on metacarpus

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!