|1.||of or relating to the back of the head or skull|
|2.||short for occipital bone|
|compound bone of the base of the cranium of many vertebrates formed by the fusion of bony elements|
|A bone at the base of the cranium and the root of the nose, containing numerous perforations for the filaments of the olfactory nerve.|
occipital oc·cip·i·tal (ŏk-sĭp'ĭ-tl)
Of or relating to the occipital bone. n.
The occipital bone.
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.
Learn more about occipital with a free trial on Britannica.com.