Definition of maxilla in English:


Line breaks: max|illa
Pronunciation: /makˈsɪlə

noun (plural maxillae /-liː/)

Anatomy & Zoology
  • 1The jaw or jawbone, specifically the upper jaw in most vertebrates. In humans it also forms part of the nose and eye socket.
    More example sentences
    • There are five large teeth on the maxillae (upper jaw bone), rather short canines, and at least twenty small and uniform post-canines.
    • Anteriorly, the ventral margin of the maxilla curves dorsally.
    • Two major bones of the upper jaw, the maxilla, and the premaxilla, were previously firmly attached to the skull and had teeth.
  • 1.1(In many arthropods) each of a pair of mouthparts used in chewing.
    More example sentences
    • First, Protohadros has a very large pair of maxillae.
    • Behind the mandibles, Mandibulata bear one, or more typically, two pairs of maxillae, frequently with a long palp, as in the second maxilla of Macrocyclops.
    • The mouthparts consist of a pair of mandibles and 2 pairs of maxillae.


late Middle English: from Latin, 'jaw'.

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a small amount; a little