1. <anatomy> One of the curved bones attached to the vertebral column and supporting the lateral walls of the thorax.

In man there are twelve ribs on each side, of which the upper seven are directly connected with the sternum by cartilages, and are called sternal, or true, ribs. The remaining five pairs are called asternal, or false, ribs, and of these each of the three upper pairs is attached to the cartilage of the rib above, while the two lower pairs are free at the ventral ends, and are called floating ribs.

2. That which resembles a rib in form or use. Specifically: A ridge, fin, or wing, as on a plate, cylinder, beam, etc, to strengthen or stiffen it. One of the rods on which the cover of an umbrella is extended.

3. <botany> The chief nerve, or one of the chief nerves, of a leaf. Any longitudinal ridge in a plant.

Origin: AS. Rib, ribb; akin to D. Rib, G. Rippe, OHG. Rippa, rippi, Dan. Ribbe, Icel. Rif, Russ. Rebro.

(01 Mar 1998)

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