ster·​num | \ ˈstər-nəm How to pronounce sternum (audio) \
plural sternums or sterna\ ˈstər-​nə How to pronounce sternum (audio) \

Definition of sternum

: a compound ventral bone or cartilage of most vertebrates other than fishes that connects the ribs or the shoulder girdle or both and in humans consists of the manubrium, gladiolus, and xiphoid process

called also breastbone

Examples of sternum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Then use that momentum to fully extend your legs and bring the handle all the way into your sternum. Stefani Sassos, Ms, Rdn, Cso, Cdn, Nasm-cpt, Good Housekeeping, 13 May 2022 Perovskyi would carefully examine every injury on the body, make a Y-incision through the bellybutton, up the sternum and across the collarbones, and saw open the skull. Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2022 Push your heels into the floor and unrack it, holding the bar above your sternum with straight arms. Greg Presto, Men's Health, 24 Apr. 2022 Instead, her wispy tops and dresses revealed glimpses of sternum or rib cage via angular apertures and sheer overlays. Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, 21 Jan. 2022 Merri believes that the shape and structure of the sternum impacts how different species of birds breathe. Emily Schwing, Scientific American, 11 Feb. 2022 On Sunday, in the 49ers’ win at Jacksonville, Arden Key lined up at left defensive tackle, got right guard Ben Bartch off-balance with a jab to the sternum at the snap and barreled into the backfield to sack quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Nov. 2021 Taurasi missed 12 games before the Olympics with sternum and hip injuries. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, 8 Sep. 2021 They were connected at the sternum and shared several vital internal organs that were intertwined. Washington Post, 21 July 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of sternum

1667, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sternum

New Latin, from Greek sternon chest, breastbone; akin to Old High German stirna forehead, Latin sternere to spread out — more at strew

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Time Traveler for sternum

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The first known use of sternum was in 1667

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Dictionary Entries Near sternum

stern tube



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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sternum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for sternum


ster·​num | \ ˈstər-nəm How to pronounce sternum (audio) \
plural sternums or sterna\ -​nə \

Kids Definition of sternum


ster·​num | \ ˈstər-nəm How to pronounce sternum (audio) \
plural sternums or sterna\ -​nə How to pronounce sternum (audio) \

Medical Definition of sternum

: a compound ventral bone or cartilage that lies in the median central part of the body of most vertebrates above fishes and that in humans is about seven inches (18 centimeters) long, consists in the adult of three parts, and connects with the clavicles and the cartilages of the upper seven pairs of ribs

called also breastbone

More from Merriam-Webster on sternum

Nglish: Translation of sternum for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sternum


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