Muscle Names Defined
Muscles are named for Descriptive Characteristics
Location, Size, Shape, Action, Origin & Insertion, Number of Heads, and Fiber Bundle Direction

This Muscle Names Defined Chart is under construction thank you for your patients, our creative team will be working on finishing this project in the first quarter of 2018 last updated 1/9/18

Muscle names defined is a chart of muscles by action at a joint that offers an English descriptive translation of the Latin named muscle.  In addition a pronunciation description to help with speaking the Latin named muscles as an English speaker and an Image of the muscle to assist with over all memorization.  Get Massage Smart offers this interpretation of the meaning of muscle names as an educational resource for learning the muscles.  Having a clear understanding of the meaning of the name of the muscle can often help answer examination questions.  If a question asks for information about a muscle that controls the hip and one of the answers is Biceps Brachii, then Biceps Brachii can be ruled out as the correct answer as its name tells you that it is located in the arm (Brachii refers to arm).

  • Location example: Rectus Abdominis is a straight muscle found in the abdominal region.
  • Size example: Gluteus Maximus is a large muscle found in the Gluteal region (Butt).
  • Shape example: Deltoid is a triangular shaped muscle.  The suffix -oid means shaped like Deltiod shaped like a delta. Delta is a triangular shaped object as in a triangular shaped sand bar in the mouth of a river.
  • Action example: Flexor Carpi Radialis brevis is a shorter muscle that flexes the wrist (carpi)and passes along the radial bone side of the wrist.
  • Origin & Insertion example: Coracobrachialis is a muscle that originates on the coracoid process of the scapula and inserts on the brachium of the arm or humerus.  The humerus is the bone found in the brachial region of the human body which lies between the shoulder and elbow. Learn the Bones
  • Number of Heads example: Biceps Brachii is a two headed muscle that crosses the brachium or arm region.  Bi- is a prefix that means two and ceps is a Latin root that means head.
  • Fiber Bundle Direction example: Rectus Abdominis has parallel or straight muscle bundles that align longitudinally and cover the belly or abdominal region of the body.

Muscle Names Defined

Click on the Name to see an Image of the Muscle offered by University of Michigan Medical School

Muscles that Flex the Hip

A muscle must cross the joint in order to produce motion at the joint

To see Origin, Insertion & Nerve go to Muscle Chart Lower Extremity

Muscle Name

Meaning or Translation

Pronunciation


Psoas Major

Note: This muscle has a significant surface area attachment to the anterior body of the lumbar vertebrae L1 - L5.  When the muscle remains in a shortening contraction, it can   lead to compression of the lumbar vertebrae. 

refers to the greater (major) lumbar (psoas),named for its size & attachment to the lumbar vertebrae

Psoas crosses the hip joint & attaches to the femur, allowing for flexion of the hip

  SO-is

  MAY-jer


refers to the iliac fossa of the ilium bone, named for its location of origin on the ilium

Iliacus crosses the hip joint & attaches to the femur, allowing for hip flexion


  ih-LYE-ah-kus


refers to a shorter muscle as compared to another muscle (named for size) of adduction that moves in this case the thigh toward the midline of the body (named for   action)

Adductor Brevis crosses the hip joint from the ischium to the femur, allowing it to assist (synergist) in hip flexion


  ad-DUK-ter

  BREV-is


refers to a longer muscle as compared to another muscle (named for size) of adduction that moves in this case the thigh toward the midline of the body (named for action)

Adductor Longus crosses the hip from the pubis to the femur, allowing it to assist (synergist) in hip flexion

  ad-DUK-ter

  LONG-us


refers to a larger muscle as compared to another muscle (named for size) of adduction that moves in this case the thigh toward the midline of the body (named for action)

Adductor Magnus makes up the bulk of the inner thigh crossing the hip joint from the ischium & pubis to the femur, anterior fibers of the muscle assist (synergist) in flexion

  ad-DUK-ter

  MAG-nus


refers to a (rectus) straight muscle found on the (femoris) thigh or femur bone, named for its fiber bundle direction and location on the thigh bone

Rectus Femoris crosses the hip joint and knee joint, originating on the ilium and attaching to the petella and anterior surface of the tibia, allowing it to assist (synergist) in hip flexion and knee extension

  REK-tus

  FEM-uh-ris or

  REK-tus

  fem-OR-us


Sartorius

Note: Sartorius forms the Pes Anserine with the Gracilis and Semitendinosus muscles.  The three conjoined tendons are often referred to as the "goose foot" and lie superficial to the medial collateral ligament of the knee.

refers to (Sartorius) Tailors muscle, a muscle that allows a person to sit cross legged as tailors of old, named for its unique action

Sartorius crosses the hip joint and knee joint, orginating from the ilium and inserting on the middle upper shaft of the tibia, allowing it to assist (synergist) in flexion at the hip, as well as flexion and medial rotation at the knee

 Sar-TOR-ee-us


Muscles that Extend the Hip

A muscle must cross the joint in order to produce motion at the joint

Click on the Name to see an Image of the Muscle offered by University of Michigan Medical School

To see Origin, Insertion & Nerve go to Muscle Chart Lower Extremity


Muscle Name

Meaning or Translation

Pronunciation


refers to a larger (Maximus) muscle as compared to another muscle named for size found in the gluteal region (Gluteus) or more commonly the region of the buttocks named for location

Gluteus Maximus crosses the hip joint originating from the posterior ilium posterior to the posterior gluteal line, as well as, the posterior surface of the scacrum and coccyx.  This muscle inserts at the gluteal tuberosity of the femur and the iliotibial tract, allowing it to extend the thigh at the hip among other actions.

GLOO-tee-us

MAK-sim-us


refers to two heads (Biceps) located on the thigh bone(Femoris), named for its number heads and location

Biceps Femoris crosses both the knee and the hip joints, with the long head originating on the ischial tuberosity and the short head originating at the lateral lip of the linea aspera and lateral supracondylar ridge of the femur.  Both heads insert on the fibular head and lateral condyle of the tibia , allowing it to extend both the leg and the thigh.

BYE-seps

FEM-uh-ris


refers to a half (Semi-)root word tendon muscle (-tendinosus) is named for its orientation as a hamstring muscle with a longer tendon attachment than another  hamstring muscle named for its attachment on the membrane of the femur periosteum

sem-ee-ten-din-OH-sis


refers to a half (Semi-) root word membranous (-membranosus)  muscle, is named for its orientation as a hamstring muscle with an attachment on the periosteum (membrane that surrounds bone) as compared to another hamstring muscle with a tendon attachment

sem-ee-mem-brah-NO-sis


refers to a larger muscle as compared to another muscle (named for size) of adduction that moves in this case the thigh toward the midline of the body (named for action)

ad-DUK-ter

MAG-nus


Muscles that Abduct the Hip

A muscle must cross the joint in order to produce motion at the joint

Click on the Name to see an Image of the Muscle offered by University of Michigan Medical School

To see Origin, Insertion & Nerve go to Muscle Chart Lower Extremity


Muscle Name

Meaning or Translation

Pronunciation


refers to a medium sized muscle in relation to another muscle (name for size), in this case the gluteal or butt muscles

GLOO-te-us

MEE-dee-us


refers to a small sized muscle in relation to another muscle (named for size), in this case the gluteal or butt muscles

GLOO-te-us

MIN-ih-mus


refers to puller (tensor) of thigh connective tissue (fasciae latae) the thickening of fascial connective tissue that surrounds the thigh and is named in part for its action to tense the fasciae latae

TEN-sor

FASH-see-ay

LAT-tee


refers to (Sartorius) Tailors muscle, a muscle that allows a person to sit cross legged as tailors of old, named for its unique action

 sar-TOR-ee-us


Muscles that Addduct the Hip

A muscle must cross the joint in order to produce motion at the joint

Click on the Name to see an Image of the Muscle offered by University of Michigan Medical School

To see Origin, Insertion & Nerve go to Muscle Chart Lower Extremity


Muscle Name

Meaning or Translation

Pronunciation


refers to a larger muscle as compared to another muscle (named for size) of adduction that moves in this case the thigh toward the midline of the body (named for action)

ad-DUK-ter

MAG-nus


refers to a shorter muscle as compared to another muscle (named for size) of adduction that moves in this case the thigh toward the midline of the body (named for action)

ad-DUK-ter

BREV-is


refers to a longer muscle as compared to another muscle (named for size) of adduction that moves in this case the thigh toward the midline of the body (named for action)

ad-DUK-ter

LONG-us


refers to a slender muscle (gracile) suffix (-is) pertaining to a slender muscle, named for its shape

GRASS-ih-lis


refers to a four sided muscle that is the shortest and smallest of the adductors of the thigh

PEK-tin-ye-us


Muscles that Laterally Rotate the Hip

A muscle must cross the joint in order to produce motion at the joint

Click on the Name to see an Image of the Muscle offered by University of Michigan Medical School

To see Origin, Insertion & Nerve go to Muscle Chart Lower Extremity

 Mnemonic Device: Please GO  GO  Quickly


Muscle Name

Meaning or Translation

Pronunciation


refers to pear shaped (piriform) the suffix (-is) pertaining to, named for its shape

PIR-ə-ˈfȯr-məs


refers to one of a pair (gemell) or twin lying above another (superior), named for being a member of a pair and its position in relation to its twin

  Jə-ˈme-ləs

  səˈpirēər



refers to one of a pair (gemell) or twin lying below another (inferior), named for being a member of a pair and its position in relation to its twin

  Jə-ˈme-ləs


  inˈfirēər


refers to an obstructor and obturator foramen (obturator), (internus) named for its position in relation to the obturator externus

ˈäbt(y)əˌrādər




refers to an obstructor and obturator foramen (obturator), (externus) named for its position in relation to obturator internus

ˈäbt(y)əˌrādər


-ek-ˈstər-nəs


refers to a square four sided muscle (quadratus), (femoris) named for its attachment to the posterior femur

kwah-drā'tŭs

fem'ŏr-is


Muscles that Medially Rotate the Hip

A muscle must cross the joint in order to produce motion at the joint

Click on the Name to see an Image of the Muscle offered by University of Michigan Medical School

To see Origin, Insertion & Nerve go to Muscle Chart Lower Extremity


Muscle Name

Meaning or Translation

Pronunciation


refers to a small sized muscle in relation to another muscle (named for size), in this case the gluteal or butt muscles

GLOO-te-us

MIN-ih-mus


refers to a medium sized muscle in relation to another muscle (name for size), in this case the gluteal or butt muscles

GLOO-te-us

MEE-dee-us


refers to puller (tensor) of thigh connective tissue (fasciae latae) the thickening of fascial connective tissue that surrounds the thigh and is named in part for its action to tense the fasciae latae

TEN-sor

FASH-see-ay

LAT-tee


refers to a larger muscle as compared to another muscle (named for size) of adduction that moves in this case the thigh toward the midline of the body (named for action)

ad-DUK-ter

MAG-nus

Muscles that Laterally Rotate the Knee Joint

A muscle must cross the joint in order to produce motion at the joint

Click on the Name to see an Image of the Muscle offered by University of Michigan Medical School

To see Origin, Insertion & Nerve go to Muscle Chart Lower Extremity


Muscle Name

Meaning or Translation

Pronunciation


refers to to heads (Biceps) located on the thigh bone(Femoris), named for its number heads and location

BYE-seps FEM-uh-ris


Muscles that Medially Rotate the Knee Joint

A muscle must cross the joint in order to produce motion at the joint

Click on the Name to see an Image of the Muscle offered by University of Michigan Medical School

To see Origin, Insertion & Nerve go to Muscle Chart Lower Extremity


refers to a half (Semi-)root word tendon muscle (-tendinosus) is named for its orientation as a hamstring muscle with a longer tendon attachment than another  hamstring muscle, named for its attachment on the membrane of the femur periosteum

sem-ee-ten-din-OH-sis


refers to a half (Semi-) root word membranous (-membranosus)  muscle, is named for its orientation as a hamstring muscle with an attachment on the periosteum (membrane that surrounds bone) as compared to another hamstring muscle with a tendon attachment

sem-ee-mem-brah-NO-sis


Popletius

Note: This muscle is said to pop the lock of the TFL in full extension, initiating flexion of the knee

Refers to the posterior fossa of the femur (popleteal), named for its location at the back of the knee.



pŏp-lĭt′ē-ŭs


refers to (Sartorius) Tailors muscle, a muscle that allows a person to sit cross legged as tailors of old, named for its unique action including medial knee rotation

sar-TOR-ee-us


refers to a slender muscle (gracile) suffix (-is) pertaining to a slender muscle, named for its shape

GRASS-ih-lis


Muscle Names Defined

Click on the Name to see an Image of the Muscle offered by University of Michigan Medical School

Muscles that Flex the Shoulder

A muscle must cross the joint in order to produce motion at the joint

To see Origin, Insertion & Nerve go to Muscle Chart Upper Extremity


Muscle Name

Meaning or Translation

Pronunciation


refers to a triangle shaped muscle (deltoid), found on the (anterior) front side of the body, named for shape and location

DEL-toyd


refers to a triangle shaped muscle (deltoid), found on the lateral surface of the body, named for shape and location

DEL-toyd


refers to a triangle shaped muscle (deltoid), found on the back side of the body, named for shape and location

DEL-toyd


refers to the chest or pectoral region (pectoralis), that is larger (major) than another muscle in the same region, named for its location and size

pek-toh-RAL-is

MA-jer


refers to its attachment to the coracoid process of the scapula (coraco-) and its attachment on the arm bone (-brachialis) which is the humerus, named for its origin and insertion

KOR-uh-ko-BRAY-kee-al-is


refers to a two (bi-) headed (-ceps) muscle found on the arm (brachii), named for its number of heads and general location

BYE-seps

BRAY-kee-eye


Muscles that Extend the Shoulder

A muscle must cross the joint in order to produce motion at the joint

To see Origin, Insertion & Nerve go to Muscle Chart Upper Extremity


Muscle Name

Meaning or Translation

Pronunciation


refers to the broadest muscle (Latissimus) found  on the back side of the body (dorsi), named for its size and general location

lat-ISS-im-is DOR-sye


refers to a rounded (teres) muscle that is larger (major) than another rounded muscle, named for its shape and size

TER-eez

MA-jer


refers to a triangle shaped muscle (deltoid), found on the back side of the body, named for shape and location

DEL-toyd


refers to below (infra-) the spine (-spinatus), in this case the spine of the scapula at the infraspinatus fossa, named for its origin on the scapula

IN-frah-spy-nah-tus


refers to a rounded (teres) muscle that is smaller (minor) than another rounded muscle, named for its shape and size

TER-eez

MYE-ner


refers to a three (tri-) headed (-ceps) muscle found on the arm (brachii), named for number of heads and general location

TRY-seps

BRAY-kee-eye


Pectoralis Major

Note: Sternal Head allows for extension of the humerus from a flexed position

refers to the chest or pectoral region (pectoralis), that is larger (major) than another muscle in the same region, named for its location and size

pek-toh-RAL-is

MA-jer


Muscles that Abduct the Shoulder

A muscle must cross the joint in order to produce motion at the joint

To see Origin, Insertion & Nerve go to Muscle Chart Upper Extremity


Muscle Name

Meaning or Translation

Pronunciation


refers to above (supra-) the spine (-sinatus), in this case the spine of the scapula, named for origin on the supraspinatus fossa

SOO-prah-spy-nah-tus


refers to a triangle shaped muscle (deltoid), found on the lateral surface of the body, named for shape and location

DEL-toyd


DE3E21

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