stapes

noun

sta·​pes ˈstā-(ˌ)pēz How to pronounce stapes (audio)
plural stapes or stapedes ˈstā-pə-ˌdēz How to pronounce stapes (audio)
: 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 By restricting the motion of the stapes, the stapedius may be able to dampen loud sounds coming toward the ear, but that response does not happen quickly enough to prevent acoustic trauma from fast-acting sounds, such as a gun blast. Christopher Linstrom, Discover Magazine, 31 Jan. 2011 The stapes and malleus are tiny bones that transmit hearing through the inner ear. Christopher Linstrom, Discover Magazine, 31 Jan. 2011 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 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1615, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stapes was in 1615

Dictionary Entries Near stapes

Cite this Entry

“Stapes.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stapes. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

stapes

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

Medical Definition

stapes

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

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