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[kahr-tl-ij, kahrt-lij] /ˈkɑr tl ɪdʒ, ˈkɑrt lɪdʒ/
noun, Anatomy, Zoology
a firm, elastic, flexible type of connective tissue of a translucent whitish or yellowish color; gristle.
a part or structure composed of cartilage.
1350-1400; Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin cartilāgō gristle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cartilage
  • As a result, the bone beneath the cartilage changes and develops bony overgrowth.
  • In the ring digit, testosterone stimulates cell division, building up cartilage and bone to make the digit longer.
  • As anyone with cartilage damage from a sports injury knows, there's not a whole lot doctors can do to help.
  • Chimaeras have cartilage instead of bone for skeletons, as do sharks.
  • In between bones, the rubbery substance that absorbs shock and facilitates movement without injury is cartilage.
  • It probably outlined the piece of torn cartilage that was laying in the spot it was torn from.
  • The cartilaginous fish, so-called because cartilage formed their skeletons, later gave rise to sharks and rays.
  • Long bones grow from the cartilage found at either end.
  • cartilage injuries, though, are even tougher to treat.
  • There seems to be some cartilage where the ear drum would have been.
British Dictionary definitions for cartilage


/ˈkɑːtɪlɪdʒ; ˈkɑːtlɪdʒ/
a tough elastic tissue composing most of the embryonic skeleton of vertebrates. In the adults of higher vertebrates it is mostly converted into bone, remaining only on the articulating ends of bones, in the thorax, trachea, nose, and ears Nontechnical name gristle
Derived Forms
cartilaginous (ˌkɑːtɪˈlædʒɪnəs) adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin cartilāgō
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cartilage

early 15c., from Middle French cartilage (16c.) and directly from Latin cartilaginem (nominative cartilago) "cartilage, gristle," possibly related to Latin crates "wickerwork."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cartilage in Medicine

cartilage car·ti·lage (kär'tl-ĭj)
A tough, elastic, fibrous connective tissue that is a major constituent of embryonic and young vertebrate skeletons, is converted largely to bone with maturation, and is found in various parts of the adult body, such as the joints, outer ear, and larynx.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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cartilage in Science
A strong, flexible connective tissue that is found in various parts of the body, including the joints, the outer ear, and the larynx. During the embryonic development of most vertebrates, the skeleton forms as cartilage before most of it hardens into bone. In cartilaginous fish, the mature fish retains a skeleton made of cartilage.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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cartilage in Culture
cartilage [(kahr-tl-ij)]

A kind of tough but elastic connective tissue that can withstand considerable pressure. It makes up portions of the skeletal system, such as the linings of the joints, where it cushions against shock. Cartilage is also found in other body structures, such as the nose and external ear.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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