noun, plural scapulas, scapulae [skap-yuh-lee] .
Anatomy. either of two flat, triangular bones, each forming the back part of a shoulder in humans; shoulder blade. See diags. under shoulder, skeleton.
Zoology. a dorsal bone of the pectoral girdle.

1570–80; < Latin: shoulder Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
scapula (ˈskæpjʊlə)
n , pl -lae, -las
1.  Nontechnical name: shoulder blade either of two large flat triangular bones, one on each side of the back part of the shoulder in man
2.  the corresponding bone in most vertebrates
[C16: from Late Latin: shoulder]

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Word Origin & History

"shoulder blade," 1578, Mod.L., from L.L. scapula "shoulder," from L. scapulæ (pl.) "shoulders, shoulder blades," of unknown origin; perhaps originally "spades, shovels" (cf. Gk. skaphein "to dig out"), on notion of similar shape, but actual shoulder blades may have been used as digging tools in
primitive times.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

scapula scap·u·la (skāp'yə-lə)
n. pl. scap·u·las or scap·u·lae (-lē')
Either of two large, flat, triangular bones forming the back part of the shoulder. Also called shoulder blade.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
scapula   (skāp'yə-lə)  Pronunciation Key 

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Plural scapulae (skāp'yə-lē') or scapulas
Either of two flat, triangular bones forming part of the shoulder. In humans and other primates, the scapulae lie on the upper part of the back on either side of the spine. Also called shoulder blade. See more at skeleton.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


either of two large bones of the shoulder girdle in vertebrates. In humans they are triangular and lie on the upper back between the levels of the second and eighth ribs. A scapula's posterior surface is crossed obliquely by a prominent ridge, the spine, which divides the bone into two concave areas, the supraspinous and infraspinous fossae. The spine and fossae give attachment to muscles that act in rotating the arm. The spine ends in the acromion, a process that articulates with the clavicle, or collarbone, in front and helps form the upper part of the shoulder socket. The lateral apex of the triangle is broadened and presents a shallow cavity, the glenoid cavity, which articulates with the head of the bone of the upper arm, the humerus, to form the shoulder joint. Overhanging the glenoid cavity is a beaklike projection, the coracoid process, which completes the shoulder socket. To the margins of the scapula are attached muscles that aid in moving or fixing the shoulder as demanded by movements of the upper limb.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Over this surface, except where covered by the scapula, the individual ribs can be distinguished.
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