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[ok-sip-i-tl] /ɒkˈsɪp ɪ tl/ Anatomy
of, relating to, or situated near the occiput or the occipital bone.
any of several parts of the occiput, especially the occipital bone.
1535-45; < Medieval Latin occipitālis, equivalent to Latin occipit- (stem of occiput) occiput + -ālis -al1
Related forms
occipitally, adverb
preoccipital, adjective
superoccipital, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for occipital
  • At the rear of the brain are the occipital lobes, dealing with vision.
  • Between the eighteenth and twenty-fifth years the occipital and sphenoid become united, forming a single bone.
  • It anastomoses with the ascending pharyngeal and occipital arteries.
  • The deep muscles of the back extend from the sacral to the occipital region and vary much in length and size.
  • The common facial and occipital veins have been described.
  • Occasionally, they extend into the basilar part of the occipital nearly as far as the foramen magnum.
  • They anastomose with the occipital, and with the ascending and deep cervical arteries.
British Dictionary definitions for occipital


of or relating to the back of the head or skull
short for occipital bone
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 occipital

1540s, from Middle French occipital, from Medieval Latin occipitalis, from Latin occiput (genitive occipitis) "back of the skull," from ob "against, behind" (see ob-) + caput "head" (see capitulum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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occipital in Medicine

occipital oc·cip·i·tal (ŏk-sĭp'ĭ-tl)
Of or relating to the occipital bone. n.
The occipital bone.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for occipital

bone forming the back and back part of the base of the cranium, the part of the skull that encloses the brain. It has a large oval opening, the foramen magnum, through which the medulla oblongata passes, linking the spinal cord and brain. The occipital adjoins five of the other seven bones forming the cranium: at the back of the head, the two parietal bones; at the side, the temporal bones; and in front, the sphenoid bone, which also forms part of the base of the cranium. The occipital is concave internally to hold the back of the brain and is marked externally by nuchal (neck) lines where the neck musculature attaches. The occipital forms both in membrane and in cartilage; these parts fuse in early childhood. The seam, or suture, between the occipital and the sphenoid closes between ages 18 and 25, that with the parietals between ages 26 and 40.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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