occiput

noun

oc·​ci·​put ˈäk-sə-(ˌ)pət How to pronounce occiput (audio)
plural occiputs or occipita äk-ˈsi-pə-tə How to pronounce occiput (audio)
: the back part of the head or skull

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Occiput came to English from Latin, where it was created from ob-, meaning "against," and "capit-" or caput, meaning "head." Its adjectival form, occipital, meaning "of, relating to, or located within or near the occiput or the occipital bone," abounds in medical texts but is found in literary ones too, as in George Eliot's description of the coiffure of the "young ladies who frizzed their hair, and gathered it all into large barricades in front of their heads, leaving their occipital region exposed without ornament, as if that, being a back view, was of no consequence…" in Scenes of Clerical Life. Another "caput" derivation is "sinciput," a word used to refer to either the forehead or the upper half of the skull.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Latin occipit-, occiput, from ob- against + capit-, caput head — more at ob-, head

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of occiput was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near occiput

Cite this Entry

“Occiput.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occiput. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition

occiput

noun
oc·​ci·​put ˈäk-sə-(ˌ)pət How to pronounce occiput (audio)
plural occiputs or occipita äk-ˈsip-ət-ə How to pronounce occiput (audio)
: the back part of the head or skull

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