ligament

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lig·a·ment / ˈligəmənt/ • n. Anat. a short band of tough, flexible, fibrous connective tissue that connects two bones or cartilages or holds together a joint. ∎  a membranous fold that supports an organ and keeps it in position. ∎  any similar connecting or binding structure. ∎ archaic a bond of union. DERIVATIVES: lig·a·men·tal / ˌligəˈmentl/ adj. lig·a·men·ta·ry / ˌligəˈment(ə)rē/ adj. lig·a·men·tous / ˌligəˈmentəs/ adj. ORIGIN: late Middle English: from Latin ligamentum ‘bond,’ from ligare ‘to bind.’

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ligament From the Latin for a bond or tie. A sheet or band of tough, inelastic, fibrous connective tissue. Around joints, ligaments form a cuff or ‘capsule’, along with additional strengthening bands outside it (e.g. spanning the sides of the knee), or they link the ends of the bones inside a joint (e.g. the cruciate ligaments, joining the tibia and femur in the knee joint). The edges or ends of such ligaments are fused with the relevant bones. (Not to be confused with tendons, which extend skeletal muscles to their attachments.) Supports in other sites include the broad ligament for the uterus and Fallopian tubes, which attaches them to the pelvic wall, and the suspensory ligaments for a variety of organs (e.g. eyeball, breast, penis).

Stuart Judge


See also connective tissue; joints.
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ligament (lig-ă-mĕnt) n.
1. a tough band of white fibrous connective tissue that links two bones together at a joint. Ligaments are inelastic but flexible; they strengthen the joint and limit its movements to certain directions.

2. a sheet of peritoneum that supports or links together abdominal organs.

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ligament A resilient but flexible band of tissue (chiefly collagen) that holds two or more bones together at a movable joint. Ligaments restrain the movement of bones at a joint and are therefore important in preventing dislocation.

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ligament Bands of tough fibrous connective tissue that join bone to bone at the joints. Ligaments, which contain the tough protein collagen, form part of the supporting tissues of the body.

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ligament short band of animal tissue XIV; ligature XVI. — L. ligāmentum, f. ligāre bind, tie; see -MENT.
So ligature XIV.

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ligament A band of tissue that holds together adjacent bones in a vertebrate and valves in an invertebrate.

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