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[man-duh-buh l] /ˈmæn də bəl/
the bone of the lower jaw.
  1. the lower part of the bill.
  2. mandibles, the upper and lower parts of the bill.
(in arthropods) one of the first pair of mouthpart appendages, typically a jawlike biting organ, but styliform or setiform in piercing and sucking species.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Late Latin mandibula jaw, equivalent to mandi- (combining form of Latin mandere to chew) + -bula noun suffix of means Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mandibles
  • The ants connect by gripping each others' mandibles and claws.
  • mandibles, exoskeletons, all those legs nearly all chitin.
  • Herbivores preferred flat bones-such as tibias, mandibles and ribs-that they could more easily hold in their mouths.
  • Thousands of ants line up on the undersides of the leaves of the tree, waiting with mandibles open.
  • As if on cue, a thousand kindred mandibles sunk themselves into my flesh.
  • Finally, as the spores begin to consume the ant's entire body and nervous system, the ant clamps its mandibles to a leaf.
  • The tiny ant is also a formidable predator for its size, using its lightning-quick mandibles to snare small invertebrates.
  • Now on one geological level you have three skulls and three mandibles.
  • Meanwhile a couple dozen of her soldier ants locked their fish-hook mandibles into my face.
  • Then, those mandibles come into play and it starts to chew.
British Dictionary definitions for mandibles


the lower jawbone in vertebrates See jaw (sense 1)
either of a pair of mouthparts in insects and other arthropods that are usually used for biting and crushing food
(ornithol) either the upper or the lower part of the bill, esp the lower part
Derived Forms
mandibular (mænˈdɪbjʊlə) adjective
mandibulate (mænˈdɪbjʊlɪt; -ˌleɪt) noun, adjective
Word Origin
C16: via Old French from Late Latin mandibula jaw, from mandere to chew
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 mandibles



late 14c., "jaw, jawbone," from Middle French mandible and directly from Late Latin mandibula "jaw," from Latin mandere "to chew," from PIE root *mendh- "to chew" (cf. Greek mastax "the mouth, that with which one chews; morsel, that which is chewed," masasthai "to chew," mastikhan "to gnash the teeth"). Of insect mouth parts from 1826.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mandibles in Medicine

mandible man·di·ble (mān'də-bəl)
A U-shaped bone forming the lower jaw, articulating with the temporal bone on either side. Also called submaxilla.

man·dib'u·lar (-dĭb'yə-lər) 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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mandibles in Science
  1. The lower part of the jaw in vertebrate animals. See more at skeleton.

  2. One of the pincerlike mouthparts of insects and other arthropods.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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