from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Anatomy A small cavity or depression, as in a bone.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A pit, groove, cavity, or depression, of greater or less depth.
  • n. A long, narrow, shallow depression on the body of an extraterrestrial body, such as a planet or moon.
  • n. A carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar, with scientific name Cryptoprocta ferox

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A pit, groove, cavity, or depression, of greater or less depth

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In anatomy, a foss, pit, depression, or hollow of some kind in any structure, specified by a qualifying term.
  • n. In zoology, a deep pit or depression in the hard integument of an animal, often opening into the interior cavity of the body and serving for the point of attachment of an organ: as, the antennary fossa of an insect.
  • n. See the adjectives.
  • n. A depressed space between the posterior commissure of the vulva and the fourchette.
  • n. The surface by which the temporal bone articulates with the lower jaw; improperly extended in human anatomy to include the whole of the smooth surface of the vaginal process behind the Glaserian fissure, in relation with the parotid gland, and not concerned in the temporomaxillary articulation. See cut under skull.
  • n. The innominate fossa of the outer ear; the groove between the helix and the antihelix; the fossa of the helix. See second cut under ear.
  • n. In zoology, a genus of Madagascan viverrine quadrupeds, allied to the genets.
  • n. [lowercase] The species of this genus, formerly called Genetta fossa.
  • n. The pit of the stomach.
  • n. A depression in the hyaloid membrane of the eye on a level with the entrance of the optic nerve.
  • n. See supraclaticular.
  • n. The depression between the sternal and the clavicular origins of the sternomastoid muscle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. largest carnivore of Madagascar; intermediate in some respects between cats and civets
  • n. a concavity in a surface (especially an anatomical depression)
  • n. monotypic genus of Madagascar civets closely related to palm civets


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin, ditch, from feminine past participle of fodere, to dig.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin fossa ("ditch").


  • And the presence of the glands in this location might explain another unusual aspect of metriorhynchid cranial anatomy, namely the strange elongate, groove-like antorbital fossae present in these animals (the antorbital fossa is an accessory opening present on the side of the skull in archosaurs).

    Archive 2006-07-01

  • Response to David: some books say that fossa is pronounced 'foosh', which would agree with your comment.

    Giant hoatzins of doom

  • Dorian - a "fossa" - looks to us like a cross between a dog, a cat, a bat and a gerbil - or maybe a bear.

    Summit Daily News - Top Stories

  • Similarly, the fossa is related to more familiar cats through the suborder Feliformia, but lie in a different family (Eupleridae) than the lions, tigers and housecats we’re familiar with (Felidae).

    Big, previously unknown palm tree discovered! « Skulls in the Stars

  • On the outside of the rectal wall, at the terminal portion, there is also much loose, fatty (areolar) tissue filling the ischio-rectal fossa, which is very prone to suppuration, and inflammation here is called periproctitis.

    Intestinal Ills Chronic Constipation, Indigestion, Autogenetic Poisons, Diarrhea, Piles, Etc. Also Auto-Infection, Auto-Intoxication, Anemia, Emaciation, Etc. Due to Proctitis and Colitis

  • At the upper part of the fossa is a transverse depression, where the bone appears to be bent on itself along a line at right angles to and passing through the center of the glenoid cavity, forming a considerable angle, called the subscapular angle; this gives greater strength to the body of the bone by its arched form, while the summit of the arch serves to support the spine and acromion.

    II. Osteology. 6a. 2. The Scapula (Shoulder Blade)

  • On the floor of the fossa are the popliteal vessels, the vein being superficial to the artery and united to it by dense areolar tissue; the vein is a thick-walled vessel, and lies at first lateral to the artery, and then crosses it posteriorly to gain its medial side below; sometimes it is double, the artery lying between the two veins, which are usually connected by short transverse branches.

    VI. The Arteries. 6b. The Popliteal Fossa

  • The peritoneum of the anterior pelvic wall covers the superior surface of the bladder, and on either side of this viscus forms a depression, termed the paravesical fossa, which is limited laterally by the fold of peritoneum covering the ductus deferens.

    XI. Splanchnology. 2e. The Abdomen

  • Behind this part of the fossa is a small conical eminence; this is the representative of a prominent tubercle which, in some mammals, descends behind the condyle of the mandible, and prevents its backward displacement.

    II. Osteology. 5a. 4. The Temporal Bone

  • The fossa is a narrow chink situated between the mesentery of the small intestine, the ileum, and the small portion of the cecum behind. (b) The inferior ileocecal fossa is situated behind the angle of junction of the ileum and cecum.

    XI. Splanchnology. 2e. The Abdomen


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  • Another bit of animal weirdness from Madagascar.

    November 8, 2008