sta·​pes | \ ˈstā-(ˌ)pēz How to pronounce stapes (audio) \
plural stapes or stapedes\ ˈstā-​pə-​ˌdēz How to pronounce stapes (audio) \

Definition of stapes

: the innermost ossicle of the middle ear of mammals

called also stirrup

— see ear illustration

Examples of stapes in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Two bones from the lower jaw migrated to the middle ear and joined the stapes, forming a chain of three bones. David George Haskell, Wired, 8 Mar. 2022 The biggest muscle is the gluteus maximus in your buttocks; the smallest is the stapedius, which stabilizes the smallest bone in your body — the stapes bone of the middle ear. Scott Lafee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Apr. 2022 Another becomes the incus bone that connects the malleus to the stapes. David George Haskell, Wired, 8 Mar. 2022 At first, the stapes was a stout shaft, both conveying groundborne vibrations to the ear and strengthening the skull. David George Haskell, Wired, 8 Mar. 2022 Similarly, The Row -- Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's label designing luxuriously elevated stapes -- will show in Paris for the first time since 2016. Leah Dolan, CNN, 28 Feb. 2022

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stapes.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of stapes

1615, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stapes

New Latin staped-, stapes, from Medieval Latin, stirrup, alteration of Late Latin stapia

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Last Updated

17 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Stapes.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for stapes


sta·​pes | \ ˈstā-(ˌ)pēz How to pronounce stapes (audio) \
plural stapes or stapedes\ stə-​ˈpē-​ˌdēz How to pronounce stapes (audio) \

Medical Definition of stapes

: the innermost of the chain of three ossicles in the middle ear of a mammal having the form of a stirrup, a base occupying the oval window, and a head connected with the incus

called also stirrup

More from Merriam-Webster on stapes Encyclopedia article about stapes


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