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[hip-uh-kam-puh s] /ˌhɪp əˈkæm pəs/
noun, plural hippocampi
[hip-uh-kam-pahy, -pee] /ˌhɪp əˈkæm paɪ, -pi/ (Show IPA)
Classical Mythology. a sea horse with two forefeet, and a body ending in the tail of a dolphin or fish.
Anatomy. an enfolding of cerebral cortex into the lateral fissure of a cerebral hemisphere, having the shape in cross section of a sea horse.
Origin of hippocampus
1600-10; < Latin < Greek hippókampos, equivalent to hippo- hippo- + kámpos sea monster Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hippocampus
  • The communication between the two brain areas at this time is one way, from the hippocampus to the neocortex.
  • The hippocampus does so, encoding the firing sequence in the cortex and thereby consolidating the memory.
  • The researchers also found that there was far more jumping-gene activity in the hippocampus than in the caudate nucleus.
  • The hippocampus is known to play a role in long-term memory formation, while the amygdala is an emotional center in the brain.
  • Also, antidepressants encourage the development of new cells in the hippocampus.
  • Single unit activity in the rat hippocampus during a spatial memory task.
  • The hippocampus is contained in the temporal lobe and is a part of the brain that is involved in memory processing.
  • The scientists did discover new neurons in two other parts of the brain, the hippocampus and the olfactory bulb.
  • Explain that the hippocampus is the part of the brain that stores memory.
  • The cells are taken from rat hippocampus and grown in culture.
British Dictionary definitions for hippocampus


noun (pl) -pi (-paɪ)
a mythological sea creature with the forelegs of a horse and the tail of a fish
any marine teleost fish of the genus Hippocampus, having a horselike head See sea horse
an area of cerebral cortex that forms a ridge in the floor of the lateral ventricle of the brain, which in cross section has the shape of a sea horse. It functions as part of the limbic system
Derived Forms
hippocampal, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, from Greek hippos horse + kampos a sea monster
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 hippocampus

c.1600, a kind of sea monster, part horse and part dolphin or fish (they are often pictured pulling Neptune's chariot), from Late Latin hippocampus, from Greek hippokampos, from hippos "horse" + kampos "a sea monster," perhaps related to kampe "caterpillar." Used from 1570s as a name of a type of fish; of a part of the brain from 1706, on supposed resemblance to the fish.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hippocampus in Medicine

hippocampus hip·po·cam·pus (hĭp'ə-kām'pəs)
n. pl hip·po·cam·pi (-pī')
The complex, internally convoluted structure that forms the medial margin of the cortical mantle of the cerebral hemisphere, borders the choroid fissure of the lateral ventricle, is composed of two gyri with their white matter, and forms part of the limbic system.

hip'po·cam'pal (-pəl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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hippocampus in Science
Plural hippocampi (hĭp'ə-kām'pī')
A convoluted, seahorse-shaped structure in the cerebral cortex of the temporal lobe of the brain, composed of two gyri with white matter above gray matter. It forms part of the limbic system and is involved in the processing of emotions and memory.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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