sternum

noun

ster·​num ˈstər-nəm How to pronounce sternum (audio)
plural sternums or sterna ˈstər-nə How to pronounce sternum (audio)
: 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 The Maya were equally fond of cutting out the still-beating hearts of victims, accessing the organ either from below the diaphragm or through the sternum. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 12 June 2024 In August 2023, North Carolina Rep. Kathy Manning suffered a broken sternum and a broken foot in a car accident in the Tar Heel State. David Matthews, New York Daily News, 30 Jan. 2024 Lively opted to wear her double-breasted blazer sans undershirt, the jacket buttoning around her sternum. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 11 June 2024 Those were the paralyzing squeezes beneath my sternum, all part of having the anesthetic fiddle with one of the nerves on my diaphragm. Neal Rubin, Detroit Free Press, 18 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for sternum 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sternum.' 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, from Greek sternon chest, breastbone; akin to Old High German stirna forehead, Latin sternere to spread out — more at strew

First Known Use

1667, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sternum was in 1667

Dictionary Entries Near sternum

Cite this Entry

“Sternum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sternum. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

sternum

noun
ster·​num ˈstər-nəm How to pronounce sternum (audio)
plural sternums or sterna -nə How to pronounce sternum (audio)
: a flat narrow piece of bone or cartilage in the chest that connects the ribs in most vertebrates other than fishes

called also breastbone

Medical Definition

sternum

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

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