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

  • adj. Located or occurring between the ribs.
  • n. A space, muscle, or part situated between the ribs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Between the ribs of an animal or person.
  • adj. Between the ribs of a boat.
  • n. The intercostal muscles.
  • n. Something that is between the ribs of an animal.
  • n. Hull reinforcing inserted between frames or bulkheads of a boat.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Between the ribs; pertaining to, or produced by, the parts between the ribs.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Situated or intervening between successive ribs of the same side of the body: as, intercostal muscles, vessels, spaces.
  • n. An intercostal structure, as an artery, and especially a muscle; an intercostalis.
  • In iron ship-building, noting a structural member composed of a number of short pieces fitted in the spaces between a series of other continuous structural members which it crosses: as, an intercostal floorplate, one in which the floor is in short pieces between the longitudinals; an intercostal keelson, intercostal longitudinal, one in short pieces between the frames; an intercostal angle-bar, intercostal seam-strap, one in short pieces between frames or deck-beams, etc.

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

  • n. muscles between the ribs; they contract during inspiration
  • adj. located or occurring between the ribs


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

New Latin intercostālis : inter- + Latin costa, rib; see kost- in Indo-European roots.


  • The ribs are situated one below the other in such a manner that spaces called intercostal spaces are left between them.

    II. Osteology. 4b. The Ribs

  • Eleven of them are situated between the ribs, and are therefore termed intercostal; the twelfth lies below the last rib.

    IX. Neurology. 6c. The Thoracic Nerves

  • The ribs are moved in respiration by two superficial muscular layers, known as the intercostal muscles.

    The Hindu-Yogi Science Of Breath

  • Before Wednesday's game, the Mets placed pitcher Jon Niese on the disabled list with a strained intercostal muscle on his right side.

    Unspectacular as Usual, Pelfrey Notches a Win

  • He was able to call on Jason Bay, who missed the Mets' dreadful 18-game start to the season with a strained intercostal muscle.

    Reporter's Notebook

  • By its deep surface, it is in relation with the Lumbar fascia, the Serratus posticus inferior, the lower external intercostal muscles and ribs, inferior angle of the scapula, Rhomboideus major, Infraspinatus, and Teres major. [p. 313]

    Archive 2009-01-01

  • And yeah, I know there are no leopards in Brazil, and that there's no such bone as an "intercostal clavicle" So what.

    "For the World is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky"

  • Upper costal breathing involves the upper third of your chest, moving primarily the intercostal muscles that connect the ribs.


  • This strain was pulling on the twelfth intercostal nerve in my thoracic region, and the ilioinguinal and iliohypogastric nerves that travel behind the kidneys.


  • She said that my right shoulder girdle maintained a line of tension down to my left abdomen via abdominal obliques and intercostal muscles.



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