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

  • n. The hammer-shaped bone that is the outermost of the three small bones in the mammalian middle ear. Also called hammer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The small hammer-shaped bone of the middle ear.
  • n. The tripus (ossicle in cypriniform fishes).
  • n. One of the paired calcareous structures within the mastax of rotifers.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The outermost of the three small auditory bones, ossicles; the hammer. It is attached to the tympanic membrane by a long process, the handle or manubrium. See Illust. of far.
  • n. One of the hard lateral pieces of the mastax of Rotifera. See Mastax.
  • n. A genus of bivalve shells; the hammer shell.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In anatomy, the proximal element of Meckel's cartilage, in any way distinguished from the rest of the mandibular arch.
  • n. In ichthyology, one of the Weberian ossicles which form a chain between the air-bladder and the auditory apparatus in the skull of plectospondylous and nematognathous fishes. It is homologous with the hemapophysis of the third one of the coalesced anterior vertebræ.
  • n. In rotifers, one of the paired calcareous structures within the pharynx.
  • n. [capitalized] In conchology, a genus of pearl-oysters of the family Avieulidæ, founded by Lamarck in 1799; the hammer-shells.
  • n. Same as war-hammer.

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

  • n. the ossicle attached to the eardrum


Latin, hammer; see melə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin malleus ("hammer, mallet") (Wiktionary)



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