Definition of occiput
: the back part of the head or skull
occiput was our Word of the Day on 06/16/2009. Hear the podcast!
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Did You Know?
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.
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