oc·​cip·​i·​tal äk-ˈsi-pə-tᵊl How to pronounce occipital (audio)
: of, relating to, or located within or near the occiput or the occipital bone
occipital noun
occipitally adverb

Examples of occipital in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The study published by the Lancet, found that 94% of patients diagnosed with Posterior Cortical Atrophy, or PCA, a neurodegenerative condition that impairs one's vision and mainly affects the occipital and parietal cortex, also had Alzheimer's. Julia Gomez, USA TODAY, 26 Jan. 2024 Scurry later found out that the blow resulted in a traumatic brain injury that smashed her occipital nerve. Lauren J. Young, Scientific American, 18 July 2023 The condition, bilateral atlanto occipital joint dislocation, is commonly known as internal or orthopedic decapitation. Michael Lee Simpson, Peoplemag, 14 July 2023 Suleiman Hassan, a 12-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank, suffered what is known as an internal decapitation, with his skull detached from the top vertebrae of his spine — officially known as a bilateral atlanto occipital joint dislocation, according to The Times of Israel. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 13 July 2023 Two dying patients, on being removed from ventilator support, exhibited surges of gamma-wave activity within the temporo–parieto–occipital junctions, as well as between the TPO zones and the contralateral prefrontal areas. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 2 June 2023 One of the big ones is understanding how the brain translates visual information into mental images as processed by our occipital and temporal lobes. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, 9 Mar. 2023 Lobe labels were blue (occipital, temporal, parietal, and frontal). Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 9 June 2012 The vertical occipital fasciculus (VOF) debuted in an atlas by German psychiatrist and anatomist Carl Wernicke in 1881. Jenny Blair, Discover Magazine, 1 Oct. 2015

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

Word History


borrowed from Middle French, probably borrowed from Medieval Latin occipitālis, from Latin occipit-, occiput occiput + -ālis -al entry 1

First Known Use

1541, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of occipital was in 1541

Dictionary Entries Near occipital

Cite this Entry

“Occipital.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occipital. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
: of or relating to the back part of the head or skull or to the occipital bone


2 of 2 noun

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
oc·​cip·​i·​tal äk-ˈsip-ət-ᵊl How to pronounce occipital (audio)
: of, relating to, or located within or near the occiput or the occipital bone


2 of 2 noun

More from Merriam-Webster on occipital

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