Clinical Anatomical Terminology

Terminologia Anatomica - Suggested Changes

FIPAT Gross and Clinical Anatomy Working Group

Click to access a PDF document of Terminologia Anatomica with suggested changes and clinical terms, Anatomical Terminology.

This web page contains the anatomical terminology accepted by the Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology and published in Terminologia Anatomica in 1998. Column Two presents the Latin/Greek term while Column Three presents the English translation. Items in GREEN, RED, or STRIKE-OUT font indicate suggested additions or corrections to the terminology. Columns Four and Five present unaccepted alternative terminology, usually representing historical terms, eponyms, or clinical jargon. Column Four presents the most commonly used alternative terminology, and Column Five presents less frequently used alternative terminology.

The eponyms and clinical jargon come from various sources, including a listing found in Essentials of Human Anatomy (1994) by Woodburne and Burkel and a list compiled by Dr. Shane Tubbs, University of Alabama Birmingham.

Use the text search feature of your browser, usually accessed by entering Command-F, to search for any terms.

A very nice site that presents anatomical terms and images can be found on the web at, by Paul Gobee of the University of Leiden.

A site that contains interesting information on anatomical and medical eponyms may be found at

If you would like to submit a term for consideration, or to provide feedback on this site, please use the feedback form to send a message to Dr. Tom Gest, Department of Medical Education, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

Suggested global changes for the next edition of Terminologia Anatomica:

Both UK English and American English spelling should be used, so that word searches can be done with either spelling. (i.e. oesophagus/esophagus, coeliac/celiac, caecum/cecum, fibres/fibers, etc.)

Terms that are hyphenated should also be listed as non-hyphenated, so that word searches can be done on either spelling. (i.e. gastro-omental/gastroomental)

Cranial nerves should use Roman numerals exclusively, while other structures such as vertebrae, ribs, digits, etc. should use Arabic numerals only. This will match the spinal nerves, which currently use Arabic numerals (A14.2.02.001), and be logical, since vertebrae and ribs correlate with spinal nerves (for the most part).

"Muscle" should be added to the English translation of every muscle, since it is part of the term. This is already done for arteries, veins, nerves, etc.

In the central nervous system, a consistent rule for the use of the terms anterior/ventral and posterior/dorsal should be employed. There are currently inconsistencies in their use. Since there are certain structures that use dorsal in their names, such as dorsal scapular nerve and artery, thoracodorsal nerve and artery, latissimus dorsi, etc., it would be consistent to allow dorsal and ventral to be used interchangeably with posterior and anterior in the central nervous system and spinal nerves.