ster·​num | \ ˈstər-nəm How to pronounce sternum (audio) \
plural sternums or sterna\ ˈstər-​nə How to pronounce sterna (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 The Stars announced Friday that Polak had a small fracture of his sternum and would be evaluated in one week. Mike Brehm, USA TODAY, "Stars' Blake Comeau, Roman Polak leave ice against Bruins after fluke injuries," 1 Oct. 2019 With a skirt cut up to the crotch and a midriff stretching to below the navel, the dress revealed a full span of leg and an ample swath of bare sternum and breasts, stopping precariously short of revealing the nipples. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "The Super Bowl Halftime Show, and the Ageless Comforts of J. Lo.," 3 Feb. 2020 Stars defenseman Roman Polak has a small fracture in his sternum and will be re-evaluated next week. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Stars’ Polak has fracture in sternum after going into boards," 4 Oct. 2019 Moments later, Bogdanovic is holding the ball in the same spot, his shoulder pressed into Aaron Holiday’s sternum. Nathan Brown, Indianapolis Star, "In Pacers return, Bojan Bogdanovic epitomized growth his two years in Indiana helped cultivate," 28 Nov. 2019 Most backpacks have one built in on the sternum strap. Mary Forgione,, "Packing an emergency kit? Think about using your camping gear," 12 July 2019 The woman also was missing her sternum and several bones from her hands and feet. Steven Goode,, "After 75 years, it may not be possible to identify the Hartford Circus Fire victims who were exhumed last month," 4 Nov. 2019 The Magic played the second half without shooting guard Terrence Ross, who left the game with what was later diagnosed as a sternum contusion, according to a team spokesman. Roy Parry,, "Aaron Gordon leads Magic to preseason win over Pistons," 7 Oct. 2019 Geroux injured Jockey Florent Geroux broke his sternum in a training accident on Sunday at Keeneland. Los Angeles Times, "Racing! Stewards’ rulings are in the house," 15 Oct. 2019

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.

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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

Time Traveler

The first known use of sternum was in 1667

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Statistics for sternum

Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sternum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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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 sterna (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

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More from Merriam-Webster on sternum

Spanish Central: Translation of sternum

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

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