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

  • n. A ridge in the floor of each lateral ventricle of the brain that consists mainly of gray matter and has a central role in memory processes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A mythological creature with the front head and forelimbs of a horse and the rear of a dolphin; a hippocamp.
  • n. A part of the brain located inside the temporal lobe, consisting mainly of grey matter. It is a component of the limbic system and plays a role in memory and emotion. So named because of its resemblance to the seahorse.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fabulous monster, with the head and fore quarters of a horse joined to the tail of a dolphin or other fish (Hippocampus brevirostris), -- seen in Pompeian paintings, attached to the chariot of Neptune.
  • n. A genus of lophobranch fishes of several species in which the head and neck have some resemblance to those of a horse; -- called also sea horse.
  • n. A name applied to either of two ridges of white matter in each lateral ventricle of the brain. The larger is called hippocampus major or simply hippocampus. The smaller, hippocampus minor, is called also ergot and calcar.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In mythology, a sea-horse with two fore feet and a body ending in the tail of a dolphin or other fish.
  • n. [capitalized] In zoology, the typical genus of seahorses of the family Hippocampidæ.
  • n. In anatomy, a raised curved trace or track on the floor of the lateral ventricle of the brain.

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

  • n. seahorses
  • n. a complex neural structure (shaped like a sea horse) consisting of grey matter and located on the floor of each lateral ventricle; intimately involved in motivation and emotion as part of the limbic system; has a central role in the formation of memories


Late Latin, a sea horse with a horse's forelegs and a dolphin's tail (from its shape in cross section), from Greek hippokampos : hippos, horse; + kampos, sea monster.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin hippocampus, from Ancient Greek ἱππόκαμπος (hippokampos), from ἵππος (hippos, "horse") and κάμπος (kampos, "sea monster"). (Wiktionary)


  • Well … to be fair the hippocampus is actually based on a mythological creature.

    Something Awful on the 1e Monster Manual « Geek Related

  • The part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is responsible for short-term memory, emotional memory and concentration, is damaged by long-term stress.

    Paul and Rachel Chandler: a period of decompression is needed

  • There's an area of the brain called the hippocampus, which is responsible for memories.

    CNN Transcript Jul 20, 2004

  • The hippocampus is involved in explicit (or declarative) memory, memory for people, objects, or places, memories that require conscious participation for recall.

    Eric R. Kandel - Autobiography

  • Cajal and Lorente de Nó had pointed out, the cellular architecture of the hippocampus is remarkably conserved among mammals, and the main cell type, the pyramidal cell, is found in

    Eric R. Kandel - Autobiography

  • In turn, this improves brain function related to the area of the brain called the hippocampus, which is the center for memory and learning.

    The Full Feed from

  • In the 1980s, researchers directly stimulated a brain region in humans called the hippocampus, which is critical in memory formation; but the current interfered with new memories.

    NYT > Home Page

  • At noon, both groups took part in a series of rigorous learning tests intended to tax a region of the brain called the hippocampus, which is known to be involved in the formation of short-term memory.

    Seeker Blog

  • At midday, all of the volunteers took part in a learning test designed to exercise a region of the brain called the hippocampus, which is involved in storing memories.

    The Hindu - Front Page

  • But scientists have learned that we don't lose many cells in the area of the brain, known as the hippocampus, that is critical for learning and memory. Top Stories


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The term 'sea-horse (hippocampus)' has been used in modern grants of arms to refer to the real sea creature, as distinct from the heraldic monster called the sea-horse (which apparently can also be called a hippocampus). Source: J. P. Brooke-Little's footnote 87 to Fox-Davies's A Complete Guide to Heraldry

    June 11, 2009

  • In mythology, a sea horse with two forefeet and a body ending in the tail of a dolphin or fish. Wonder how it ended up in the human brain.... ;-)

    February 4, 2007

  • All my body parts are the same age. ;-)

    January 4, 2007

  • "Have you heard of the hippocampus? It's one of the most ancient parts of the brain, located deep within the temporal lobes and adjacent to the amygdala. This horseshoe-shaped structure plays a central role in learning, memory, and wayfinding. We know rats rely on the hippocampus for maze navigation. It's essential for both path integration and the processing of cognitive maps. We know neurons called "place cells" are intensely active when a rat revisits familiar locations. And we know animals and humans experience severe disorientation when the hippocampus is damaged." Peter Morville in his book Ambient Findability

    January 4, 2007