The study of form. Gross anatomy involves structures that can be seen with the naked eye. It is as opposed to microscopic anatomy (or histology) which involves structures seen under the microscope. Traditionally, both gross and microscopic anatomy have been studied in the first year of medical school in the U.S. The most celebrated textbook of anatomy in the English-speaking world is Gray's Anatomy, still a useful reference book. The word "anatomy" comes from the Greek ana- meaning up or through + tome meaning a cutting. Anatomy was once a "cutting up" because the structure of the body was originally learned through dissecting it, cutting it up. The abbreviation for anatomy is anat.
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1. The morphologic structure of an organism. 2. The science of the morphology or structure of organisms. 3. SYN: dissection. 4. A work describing the form and structure of an organism and its various parts. [G. anatome, dissection, from ana, apart, + tome, a cutting]
- applied a. SYN: clinical a..
- artificial a. the manufacture of models of anatomic structures, or the study of a. from such models.
- artistic a. the study of a. for artistic purposes, as applied to painting, drawing, or sculpture.
- clastic a. the construction or study of models in layers which can be removed one after the other to show the structure of the organism and/or organ. SYN: plastic a..
- clinical a. the practical application of anatomical knowledge to diagnosis and treatment. SYN: applied a..
- comparative a. the comparative study of animal structure with regard to homologous organs or parts.
- dental a. that branch of gross a. concerned with the morphology of teeth, their location, position, and relationships.
- descriptive a. a description of, especially a treatise describing, physical structure, more particularly that of man. SYN: systematic a..
- developmental a. a. of the structural changes of an individual from fertilization to adulthood; includes embryology, fetology, and postnatal development.
- functional a. a. studied in its relation to function. SYN: morphophysiology, physiologic a..
- general a. the study of gross and microscopic structures as well as of the composition of the body, its tissues and fluids.
- gross a. general a., so far as it can be studied without the use of the microscope; commonly used to denote the study of a. by dissection of a cadaver. See practical a.. SYN: macroscopic a..
- living a. the study of a. in the living individual by inspection.
- macroscopic a. SYN: gross a..
- medical a. a. in its bearing upon the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
- microscopic a. the branch of a. in which the structure of cells, tissues, and organs is studied with the light microscope. See histology.
- pathological a. SYN: anatomic pathology.
- physiologic a. SYN: functional a..
- plastic a. SYN: clastic a..
- practical a. a. studied by means of dissection. See gross a..
- radiologic a. the study of bodily structure using radiographs and other imaging methods.
- regional a. an approach to anatomic study based on regions, parts, or divisions of the body ( e.g., the foot or the inguinal region), emphasizing the relationships of various systemic structures ( e.g., muscles, nerves, and arteries) within that area; distinguished from systemic a.. SYN: topographic a., topology (1).
- special a. the a. of certain definite organs or groups of organs involved in the performance of special functions; descriptive a. dealing with the separate systems.
- surface a. the study of the configuration of the surface of the body, especially in its relation to deeper parts.
- surgical a. applied a. in reference to surgical diagnosis, dissection, or treatment.
- systematic a. SYN: descriptive a..
- systemic a. a. of the systems of the body; an approach to anatomical study organized by organ systems, e.g., the cardiovascular system, emphasizing an overview of the system throughout the body; distinguished from regional a..
- topographic a. SYN: regional a..
- transcendental a. the theories and deductions based upon the morphology of the organs and individual parts of the body.
- ultrastructural a. the ultramicroscopic study of structures too small to be seen with a light microscope.

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anat·o·my ə-'nat-ə-mē n, pl -mies
1) a branch of morphology that deals with the structure of organisms compare PHYSIOLOGY (1)
2) a treatise on anatomic science or art
3) the art of separating the parts of an organism in order to ascertain their position, relations, structure, and function: DISSECTION
4) structural makeup esp. of an organism or any of its parts

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the study of the structure of living organisms. In medicine it refers to the study of the form and gross structure of the various parts of the human body. The term morphology is sometimes used synonymously with anatomy but it is usually used for comparative anatomy: the study of differences in form between species. See also cytology, histology, physiology.
anatomical adj.
anatomist n.

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anat·o·my (ə-natґə-me) [ana- + -tomy] 1. the science of the structure of the body and the relation of its parts; it is largely based on dissection, from which it obtains its name. 2. dissection of an organized body.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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