cranium

[krey-nee-uhm]
noun, plural craniums, crania [krey-nee-uh] .
1.
the skull of a vertebrate.
2.
the part of the skull that encloses the brain.
Also called braincase.


Origin:
1375–1425; late Middle English craneum < Medieval Latin crānium < Greek krāníon skull; akin to ceratokoi·ə , cerebrum, cornu, horn

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World English Dictionary
cranium (ˈkreɪnɪəm)
 
n , pl -niums, -nia
1.  the skull of a vertebrate
2.  Nontechnical name: brainpan the part of the skull that encloses the brain
 
[C16: from Medieval Latin crānium skull, from Greek kranion]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

cranium
1540s, from M.L. cranium, from Gk. kranion "skull," related to kara "head." Strictly, the bones which enclose the brain.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

cranium cra·ni·um (krā'nē-əm)
n. pl. cra·ni·ums or cra·ni·a (-nē-ə)

  1. The bones of the head considered as a group; skull.

  2. The bony case enclosing the brain, excluding the bones of the face; braincase.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
cranium   (krā'nē-əm)  Pronunciation Key 
Plural craniums or crania
The vertebrate skull, especially the part that encloses and protects the brain.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
cranium [(kray-nee-uhm)]

The part of the skull that encloses the brain.

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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Example sentences
The human's is aligned more vertically, directly below the cranium.
The face and cranium of the fossil have features found in both early and modern
  human species.
To do so, they removed a small portion of the cranium and shined a laser light
  inside.
It's an unmistakable metaphor for a guy who finds the bony cranium an
  incidental obstacle to studying gray matter.
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