Word of the Day : May 9, 2013


verb DEK-uh-sayt


: to intersect or cross

Did You Know?

The history of "decussate" leads us back to the intersection of "decem," a word meaning "ten," and "ass-," a form that refers to a unit of weight and specifically to a copper coin cut to a half-ounce. In the Roman numeral system the number 10 is represented by X, an intersection of two lines. A man named Sir Thomas Browne coined "decussate" in the 17th century to discuss the crossing fibers that make up human anatomy-for instance, skin tissue. The word continues to be found primarily in scientific contexts today.


The illustration on page 34 of your textbook shows how the optic nerves decussate.

"The fibers of the lateral spinothalamic tract decussate one or two levels above or below where the injury may occur…." - From an article by Kim Boswell, MD, and Jay Menaker, MD, in Trauma Reports, January 1, 2013

Test Your Memory

What former Word of the Day begins with "i" and can mean "incapable of being annulled, undone, or broken"? The answer is …


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