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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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Examples from the web for cochlear
  • Some electronic circuits have also made their way into the bodies of people in the form of heart pacemakers and cochlear implants.
  • They thought that a low hum might straighten out those bent cochlear hairs.
  • There are many different types of cochlear implants.
  • They have interviewed astronauts and cochlear implant surgeons and neuroscientists.
  • Did his show completely deaf for two months before getting cochlear implants to help him hear callers.
  • The cochlear duct is almost as complex on its own as the ear itself.
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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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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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