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[kok-lee-uh, koh-klee-uh] /ˈkɒk li ə, ˈkoʊ kli ə/
noun, plural cochleae
[kok-lee-ee, -lee-ahy, koh-klee-ee, ‐klee-ahy] /ˈkɒk liˌi, -liˌaɪ, ˈkoʊ kliˌi, ‐kliˌaɪ/ (Show IPA),
cochleas. Anatomy
a spiral-shaped cavity forming a division of the internal ear in humans and in most other mammals.
Origin of cochlea
1530-40; < Latin < Greek kochlíās snail (with spiral shell), screw, probably akin to kónchē conch
Related forms
cochlear, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for cochlear


noun (pl) -leae (-lɪˌiː)
the spiral tube, shaped like a snail's shell, that forms part of the internal ear, converting sound vibrations into nerve impulses
Derived Forms
cochlear, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin: snail, spiral, from Greek kokhlias; probably related to Greek konkhēconch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for cochlear



"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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cochlear in Medicine

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.

coch'le·ar (-ər)
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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cochlear in Science
Plural cochleae (kŏk'lē-ē', -lē-ī') or cochleas
A spiral-shaped cavity of the inner ear and the main organ of hearing. The cochlea contains the nerve endings that transmit sound vibrations from the middle ear to the auditory nerve.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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