"spiral cavity of the inner ear," 1680s, from Latin cochlea "snail shell," from Greek kokhlias "snail, screw," etc., from kokhlos "spiral shell," perhaps related to konkhos "mussel, conch."
cochlea coch·le·a (kŏk'lē-ə, kō'klē-ə)
n. pl. coch·le·as or coch·le·ae (-lē-ē')
A spiral-shaped cavity in the petrous portion of the temporal bone of the inner ear, containing the nerve endings essential for hearing and forming one of the divisions of the labyrinth.