- in vertebrates, the upper jaw, or a major bone or cartilage of the upper jaw
- in most arthropods, as insects or crabs, one of the first or second pair of accessory jaws or head appendages situated just behind the mandibles
Origin of maxillaL, diminutive , akin to mala, a jaw
nounpl. max·il·lae, or max·il·las
- Anatomy Either of a pair of bones of the human skull fusing in the midline and forming the upper jaw.
- A homologous bone of the skull in other vertebrates.
- Either of two laterally moving appendages situated behind the mandibles in insects and most other arthropods.
Origin of maxillaLatin jawbone
(plural maxillas or maxillae or maxillÃ¦)
From Latin maxilla (“jaw"), a diminutive of mÄla (“jaw").