• WordNet 3.6
    • n ossicle a small bone; especially one in the middle ear
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Ossicle A little bone; as, the auditory ossicles in the tympanum of the ear.
    • Ossicle (Zoöl) One of numerous small calcareous structures forming the skeleton of certain echinoderms, as the starfishes.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n ossicle A small bone or bonelet. Specifically — One of the little bones of the ear, as the malleus, incus, and stapes or columella, more fully called ossicles of audition or auditory ossicles, and also ossicula auditus and phonophori. See cuts under ear and tympanic.
    • n ossicle A small hard nodule of chitin or some substance resembling bone. Specifically — One of the skeletal elements of an echinoderin which, joined to one another and united by connective or muscular tissue, constitute the chief part of the framework of the body. They are grouped and named in several sets according to the formations into which they enter, as the ambulacral or adambulaeral ossicles, along the ambulacra, the ossicles which support the spines when these exist, etc.
    • n ossicle Also ossicule, ossiculum.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Ossicle a small bone
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. ossiculum, dim. of os, ossis, a bone
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. osseusos, ossis, bone; Gr. osteon, bone.


In literature:

Strange to say, there have been reports of cases in which the ossicles were deficient without causing any imperfection of hearing.
"Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine" by George M. Gould
One Jurassic sea-lily was found to have 600,000 distinct ossicles in its petrified frame.
"The Story of Evolution" by Joseph McCabe
We may compare the similar thought that the ear ossicles are simply opercular bones reduced and turned to other uses.
"Form and Function" by E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell
Draw and describe the ear ossicles.
"Text Book of Biology, Part 1: Vertebrata" by H. G. Wells
Osselet: = ossicle; q.v.
"Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology" by John. B. Smith
He played at ossicles with Sporus, leaning with his left arm on a table of agate.
"The Temptation of St. Antony" by Gustave Flaubert
About 700 species of Carboniferous fish have been described largely from teeth, spines and dermal ossicles.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 5, Slice 3" by Various
The skin was clothed with long, coarse hair, and small ossicles were set into it, making minute bony plates.
"A Book-Lover's Holidays in the Open" by Theodore Roosevelt
The origin of the ossicles is very doubtful.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 9" by Various
The ossicles are avoided by selecting a posterior portion of the membrane.
"A System of Practical Medicine by American Authors, Vol. I" by Various
The microscopic characters of the ossicles, too, show differences in the two.
"The Cambridge Natural History, Vol X., Mammalia" by Frank Evers Beddard
The similarity in the morphology of these ossicles indicates a close relationship between all three genera.
"North American Jumping Mice (Genus Zapus)" by Philip H. Krutzsch

In news:

Accessory ossicles in the foot are abundant, making it difficult to assess whether or not there is a fracture.
The authors describe a spectrum of accessory ossicle and sesamoid pathology and suggest appropriate imaging modalities.

In science:

It appears that the human ear is most sensitive between 2 kHz and 5 kHz, largely due to the resonance of the ear canal and the transfer function of the ossicles of the middle ear.
Music in Terms of Science