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Definition of Scapula

Scapula: The shoulder blade (or "wingbone"), the familiar flat triangular bone at the back of the shoulder.

The word "scapula" (with the accent on the first syllable) is Latin. The Romans always employed the plural "scapulae", the shoulder blades. Because the shoulder blade resembles the blade of a trowel (a small shovel), the word "scapula" is thought to have come from the Greek "skaptein" meaning "to dig."

The term "subscapular" means under (sub) the scapula. The subscapularis muscle originates beneath the scapula. This muscle moves the arm by turning it inward (internal rotation). The subscapularis muscle tendon is part of the rotator cuff.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018
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