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ear bone, 1660s, from Latin malleus "a hammer" (see mallet). So called for its shape.
malleus mal·le·us (māl'ē-əs)n. pl. mal·le·i (māl'ē-ī') The hammer-shaped bone that is the outermost of the three auditory ossicles, articulating with the body of the incus. Also called hammer.