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coccyx

[kok-siks] /ˈkɒk sɪks/
noun, plural coccyges
[kok-sahy-jeez, kok-si-jeez] /kɒkˈsaɪ dʒiz, ˈkɒk sɪˌdʒiz/ (Show IPA)
1.
a small triangular bone forming the lower extremity of the spinal column in humans, consisting of four ankylosed rudimentary vertebrae.
2.
a corresponding part in certain animals.
Origin
1605-1615
1605-15; < Neo-Latin < Greek kókkyx cuckoo, from its resemblance to a cuckoo's beak
Related forms
coccygeal
[kok-sij-ee-uh l, -sij-uh l] /kɒkˈsɪdʒ i əl, -ˈsɪdʒ əl/ (Show IPA),
adjective
intercoccygeal, adjective
precoccygeal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for coccyx
  • The human coccyx is highly variable but is generally composed of three to five vertebrae.
  • Inspect your coccyx to see if you have a prehensile tail attached.
  • Of the nine spinal fractures, eight were lumbar compression fractures and one was a fracture of the coccyx.
  • Treatment of mature and immature teratomas that are not in the sacrum or coccyx is usually surgery followed by watchful waiting.
  • Residuals of a coccyx injury were not incurred in or aggravated by active service.
British Dictionary definitions for coccyx

coccyx

/ˈkɒksɪks/
noun (pl) coccyges (kɒkˈsaɪdʒiːz)
1.
a small triangular bone at the end of the spinal column in man and some apes, representing a vestigial tail
Derived Forms
coccygeal (kɒkˈsɪdʒɪəl) adjective
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin, from Greek kokkux cuckoo, of imitative origin; from the likeness of the bone to a cuckoo's beak
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 coccyx
n.

1610s, from Latin coccyx, from Greek kokkyx "cuckoo" (from kokku, like the bird's English name echoic of its cry), so called by ancient Greek physician Galen because the bone in humans supposedly resembles a cuckoo's beak.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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coccyx in Medicine

coccyx coc·cyx (kŏk'sĭks)
n. pl. coc·cy·ges (kŏk-sī'jēz, kŏk'sĭ-jēz')
The small triangular bone located at the base of the spinal column, formed by the fusion of four rudimentary vertebrae, and articulating above with the sacrum. Also called tailbone.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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coccyx in Science
coccyx
  (kŏk'sĭks)   
Plural coccyges (kŏk-sī'jēz, kŏk'sĭ-jēz')
A small triangular bone at the base of the spine in humans and apes. It is composed of several fused vertebrae. Also called tailbone.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for coccyx

curved, semiflexible lower end of the backbone (vertebral column) in apes and humans, representing a vestigial tail. It is composed of three to five successively smaller caudal (coccygeal) vertebrae. The first is a relatively well-defined vertebra and connects with the sacrum; the last is represented by a small nodule of bone. The spinal cord ends above the coccyx. In early adulthood the coccygeal vertebrae fuse with each other; in later life the coccyx may fuse with the sacrum. A corresponding structure in other vertebrates, such as birds, may also be called a coccyx.

Learn more about coccyx with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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