A ligament is the tissue that connects two bones to form a joint. It's tough and fibrous, which means that when it tears, a ligament can take quite a while to heal and might even require surgery.

Ligament comes from the Latin ligare meaning "to bind, tie," which is precisely what a ligament does. Ligaments only connect bones to bones. Ligaments allow for range of motion. Think of how your knee or elbow is able to move up and down like a hinge. That's thanks to the ligaments connecting the bones to form knee and elbow joints. Over time, ligaments gradually stretch. If you've ever met someone who is "double-jointed" that means their ligaments are extra elastic, which lets them stretch more than the average person.

Definitions of ligament
  1. noun
    a sheet or band of tough fibrous tissue connecting bones or cartilages or supporting muscles or organs
    see moresee less
    falciform ligament
    a ligament that attaches part of the liver to the diaphragm and the abdominal wall
    ligamentum teres uteri, round ligament of the uterus
    ligament attached to the uterus on either side in front of and below the opening of the Fallopian tube and passing through the inguinal canal to the labia majora
    type of:
    connective tissue
    tissue of mesodermal origin consisting of e.g. collagen fibroblasts and fatty cells; supports organs and fills spaces between them and forms tendons and ligaments
  2. noun
    any connection or unifying bond
    see moresee less
    show 15 types...
    hide 15 types...
    binder, ligature
    something used to tie or bind
    a series of (usually metal) rings or links fitted into one another to make a flexible ligament
    ligament made of metal and used to fasten things or make cages or fences etc
    anchor chain, anchor rope
    the chain or rope that attaches an anchor to a vessel
    baling wire
    wire used to make bales
    barbed wire, barbwire
    strong wire with barbs at regular intervals used to prevent passage
    bicycle chain
    a chain that transmits the power from the pedals to the rear wheel of a bicycle
    a chain formerly worn at the waist by women; for carrying a purse or bunch of keys etc.
    fob, watch chain, watch guard
    short chain or ribbon attaching a pocket watch to a man's vest
    wire for tying up bales of hay
    paper chain
    a chain made of loops of colored paper; used to decorate a room
    piano wire
    thin steel wire of high tensile strength
    pull chain
    a chain (usually with a handle at the end) that is pulled in order to operate some mechanism (e.g. to flush a toilet)
    snow chain, tire chain
    chain attached to wheels to increase traction on ice or snow
    trip wire
    a wire stretched close to the ground that activates something (a trap or camera or weapon) when tripped over
    type of:
    attachment, bond
    a connection that fastens things together
Word Family