Human Anatomy and Physiology - High School

Got anatomy and physiology on the brain? Then you'll want to bone up on these terms related to the human body. Learn all about the nervous, respiratory, skeletal, and digestive systems. This list is sure to get your blood flowing!


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definitions & notes
only words

  1. abductor

    a muscle that draws a body part away from the median line
  2. adductor

    a muscle that draws a body part toward the median line
  3. air sac

    a tiny sac for holding air in the lungs
  4. alveolus

    a tiny sac for holding air in the lungs
  5. aorta

    the large artery carrying blood from the heart to the body
  6. appendicular skeleton

    the part of the skeleton that includes the pectoral girdle and the pelvic girdle and the upper and lower limbs
  7. appendix

    a small sac attached to the large intestines of some animals
  8. arteriole

    one of the small thin-walled arteries that end in capillaries
  9. artery

    a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body
  10. atrium

    a chamber connected to other chambers or passageways
  11. axial skeleton

    the part of the skeleton that includes the skull and spinal column and sternum and ribs
  12. axon

    long nerve fiber that conducts impulses away from a cell
  13. biceps

    any skeletal muscle having two origins
  14. bile

    a digestive juice secreted by the liver
  15. bladder

    a distensible membranous sac
  16. blood

    the fluid that is pumped through the body by the heart
  17. blood vessel

    a vessel in which blood circulates
  18. bone

    rigid tissue that makes up the skeleton of vertebrates
  19. bone marrow

    the fatty network of connective tissue that fills the cavities of bones
  20. brain

    the center of the nervous system
  21. brain stem

    the part of the brain continuous with the spinal cord and comprising the medulla oblongata and pons and midbrain and parts of the hypothalamus
  22. bronchus

    either of the two main branches of the trachea
  23. buccinator muscle

    a muscle that flattens the cheek and retracts the angle of the mouth
  24. capillary

    a minute blood vessel connecting arterioles with venules
  25. cardiac muscle

    the muscle tissue of the heart
  26. cardiovascular system

    the organs and tissues involved in circulating blood and lymph through the body
  27. carpal

    any of the eight small bones of the wrist of primates
  28. cartilage

    tough elastic tissue, mostly converted to bone in adults
  29. central nervous system

    the portion of the vertebrate nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord
  30. cerebellum

    a major division of the vertebrate brain
  31. cerebrum

    anterior portion of the brain consisting of two hemispheres
  32. chyme

    a semiliquid mass of partially digested food that passes from the stomach through the pyloric sphincter into the duodenum
  33. circulation

    the movement of blood through the heart and blood vessels
  34. circulatory system

    the organs and tissues involved in circulating blood and lymph through the body
  35. clavicle

    bone linking the scapula and sternum
  36. coccyx

    the end of the vertebral column in humans and tailless apes
  37. coxa

    the ball-and-socket joint between the head of the femur and the acetabulum
  38. cranium

    the part of the skull that encloses the brain
  39. deltoid

    large triangular muscle covering the shoulder joint
  40. dendrite

    short fiber that conducts toward the cell body of the neuron
  41. dermis

    the deep vascular inner layer of the skin
  42. diaphragm

    a muscular partition in the chest used in respiration
  43. digestion

    the process by which the body breaks down food
  44. digestive system

    the system that makes food absorbable into the body
  45. endocrine system

    the system of glands that produce endocrine secretions that help to control bodily metabolic activity
  46. enzyme

    a complex protein produced by cells that acts as a catalyst
  47. epidermis

    the outer layer of skin covering the body surface
  48. epiglottis

    a flap of cartilage that covers the windpipe while swallowing
  49. esophagus

    the passage between the pharynx and the stomach
  50. extensor

    a skeletal muscle whose contraction extends or stretches a body part
  51. external oblique muscle

    a diagonally arranged abdominal muscle on either side of the torso
  52. femur

    the thigh bone of the human skeleton
  53. fibula

    the outer and thinner of the two bones of the human leg between the knee and ankle
  54. flexor

    a skeletal muscle whose contraction bends a joint
  55. frontal lobe

    that part of the cerebral cortex in either hemisphere of the brain lying directly behind the forehead
  56. gall bladder

    a muscular sac attached to the liver that stores bile (secreted by the liver) until it is needed for digestion
  57. gastric juice

    digestive secretions of the stomach glands consisting chiefly of hydrochloric acid and mucin and the enzymes pepsin and rennin and lipase
  58. gland

    a small organ that synthesizes and secretes chemicals
  59. gliding joint

    a freely moving joint in which the articulations allow only gliding motions
  60. gluteus maximus

    the outermost of the three gluteal muscles
  61. gluteus medius

    the middle of the three gluteal muscles
  62. gluteus minimus

    the innermost of the three gluteal muscles
  63. heart valve

    a valve to control one-way flow of blood
  64. hemoglobin

    a red protein in blood that transports oxygen
  65. hinge joint

    a freely moving joint in which the bones are so articulated as to allow extensive movement in one plane
  66. hormone

    the secretion of an endocrine gland transmitted by the blood
  67. hyoid

    a U-shaped bone at the base of the tongue that supports the tongue muscles
  68. hypothalamus

    a basal part of the diencephalon governing autonomic nervous system
  69. ilium

    the upper and widest of the three bones making up the hipbone
  70. immune system

    a system (including the thymus and bone marrow and lymphoid tissues) that protects the body from foreign substances and pathogenic organisms by producing the immune response
  71. integumentary system

    the skin and its appendages
  72. involuntary muscle

    a muscle that contracts without conscious control and found in walls of internal organs such as stomach and intestine and bladder and blood vessels (excluding the heart)
  73. ischium

    one of the three sections of the hipbone
  74. joint

    the point of connection between two bones
  75. kidney

    either of two bean-shaped excretory organs that filter wastes (especially urea) from the blood and excrete them and water in urine
  76. large intestine

    beginning with the cecum and ending with the rectum
  77. larynx

    the structure containing the vocal cords
  78. latissimus dorsi

    a broad flat muscle on either side of the back
  79. ligament

    a band of fibrous tissue connecting bones or cartilages
  80. liver

    large and complicated reddish-brown glandular organ located in the upper right portion of the abdominal cavity; secretes bile and functions in metabolism of protein and carbohydrate and fat; synthesizes substances involved in the clotting of the blood; synthesizes vitamin A; detoxifies poisonous substances and breaks down worn-out erythrocytes
  81. lung

    either of two saclike respiratory organs in the chest of vertebrates; serves to remove carbon dioxide and provide oxygen to the blood
  82. lymphatic system

    the interconnected system of spaces and vessels between body tissues and organs by which lymph circulates throughout the body
  83. lymph node

    the source of lymph and lymphocytes
  84. mandible

    the jaw in vertebrates that is hinged to open the mouth
  85. masseter

    a large muscle that raises the lower jaw and is used in chewing
  86. maxilla

    the jaw in vertebrates that is fused to the cranium
  87. medulla oblongata

    lower or hindmost part of the brain
  88. melanin

    insoluble pigments that account for the color of e.g. skin and scales and feathers
  89. metacarpal

    any bone of the hand between the wrist and fingers
  90. motor neuron

    a neuron conducting impulses outwards from the brain or spinal cord
  91. mucus

    protective secretion of membranes lining internal organs
  92. muscle

    animal tissue consisting predominantly of contractile cells
  93. muscle system

    the muscular system of an organism
  94. nephron

    any of the small tubules that are the excretory units of the vertebrate kidney
  95. nerve

    a bundle of fibers running to organs and tissues of the body
  96. nervous system

    the sensory and control apparatus consisting of a network of nerve cells
  97. neuron

    a cell that is specialized to conduct nerve impulses
  98. occipital lobe

    that part of the cerebral cortex in either hemisphere of the brain lying in the back of the head
  99. organ

    a structure in an animal specialized for some function
  100. pancreas

    a large elongated exocrine gland located behind the stomach
  101. parasympathetic nervous system

    originates in the brain stem and lower part of the spinal cord; opposes physiological effects of the sympathetic nervous system: stimulates digestive secretions; slows the heart; constricts the pupils; dilates blood vessels
  102. parietal lobe

    that part of the cerebral cortex in either hemisphere of the brain lying below the crown of the head
  103. patella

    a small flat triangular bone in front of the knee
  104. pectoralis

    either of two large muscles of the chest
  105. periosteum

    a dense fibrous membrane covering the surface of bones (except at their extremities) and serving as an attachment for tendons and muscles; contains nerves and blood vessels that nourish the enclosed bone
  106. peripheral nervous system

    the section of the nervous system lying outside the brain and spinal cord
  107. peristalsis

    wavelike muscle contractions of the alimentary tract
  108. phalanx

    any of the bones of the fingers or toes
  109. pharynx

    the passage to the stomach and lungs
  110. pituitary

    the master gland of the endocrine system
  111. pivot joint

    a freely moving joint in which movement is limited to rotation
  112. plasma

    the watery fluid in which blood cells are suspended
  113. platelet

    a cell fragment essential for blood clotting in vertebrates
  114. radius

    the outer of the two bones of the human forearm
  115. rectum

    the terminal section of the alimentary canal
  116. red blood cell

    a mature blood cell that contains hemoglobin to carry oxygen to the bodily tissues; a biconcave disc that has no nucleus
  117. reproductive system

    organs and tissues involved in the production and maturation of gametes and in their union and subsequent development as offspring
  118. respiratory system

    the system for taking in oxygen and giving off carbon dioxide; in terrestrial animals this is accomplished by breathing
  119. rib

    any of the 12 pairs of curved arches of bone extending from the spine to or toward the sternum in humans (and similar bones in most vertebrates)
  120. sacrum

    wedge-shaped bone forming the posterior part of the pelvis
  121. saliva

    a clear liquid secreted by glands in the mouth
  122. sartorius

    a muscle in the thigh that helps to rotate the leg into the sitting position assumed by a tailor; the longest muscle in the human body
  123. scapula

    flat triangular bone on the side of the shoulder in humans
  124. sensory neuron

    a neuron conducting impulses inwards to the brain or spinal cord
  125. skeletal muscle

    a muscle that is connected at either or both ends to a bone and so move parts of the skeleton; a muscle that is characterized by transverse stripes
  126. skeletal system

    the hard structure (bones and cartilages) that provides a frame for the body of an animal
  127. small intestine

    the longest part of the alimentary canal
  128. smooth muscle

    a muscle that contracts without conscious control and found in walls of internal organs such as stomach and intestine and bladder and blood vessels (excluding the heart)
  129. soleus

    a broad flat muscle in the calf of the leg under the gastrocnemius muscle
  130. sphincter

    a ring of muscle that contracts to close an opening
  131. spinal cord

    a major part of the central nervous system which conducts sensory and motor nerve impulses to and from the brain; a long tubelike structure extending from the base of the brain through the vertebral canal to the upper lumbar region
  132. spleen

    a large oval organ between the stomach and the diaphragm
  133. sternum

    the breastbone
  134. sympathetic nervous system

    originates in the thoracic regions of the spinal cord
  135. synapse

    the junction between two neurons
  136. tarsal

    any bone of the tarsus
  137. temporalis

    muscle extending from the temporal fossa to the coronoid process of the mandible; acts to raise the mandible and close the jaws
  138. temporal lobe

    that part of the cerebral cortex in either hemisphere of the brain lying inside the temples of the head
  139. tendon

    a band of tissue connecting a muscle to its bony attachment
  140. tensor

    any of several muscles that cause an attached structure to become tense or firm
  141. thoracic cavity

    the cavity in the vertebrate body enclosed by the ribs between the diaphragm and the neck and containing the lungs and heart
  142. thymus

    a ductless glandular organ at the base of the neck that produces lymphocytes and aids in producing immunity; atrophies with age
  143. tibia

    the inner and thicker of the two bones of the human leg between the knee and ankle
  144. tibialis

    either of two skeletal muscle in each leg arising from the tibia; provides for movement of the foot
  145. tissue

    part of an organism consisting of an aggregate of cells
  146. tongue

    a mobile mass of muscular tissue located in the oral cavity
  147. tonsil

    either of two masses of lymphatic tissue one on each side of the oral pharynx
  148. trachea

    a tube that conveys inhaled air from the larynx to the lungs
  149. trapezius

    either of two flat triangular muscles of the shoulder and upper back that are involved in moving the shoulders and arms
  150. triceps

    any skeletal muscle having three origins
  151. true rib

    one of the first seven ribs in a human being which attach to the sternum
  152. ulna

    the inner and longer of the two bones of the human forearm
  153. ureter

    either of a pair of thick-walled tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the urinary bladder
  154. urethra

    duct through which urine is discharged in most mammals and which serves as the male genital duct
  155. urinary system

    the system that includes all organs involved in reproduction and in the formation and voidance of urine
  156. vein

    a blood vessel that carries blood toward the heart
  157. ventricle

    a chamber of the heart that receives blood from an atrium
  158. venule

    a minute vein continuous with a capillary
  159. vertebra

    one of the bony segments of the spinal column
  160. villus

    a minute hairlike projection on mucous membrane
  161. voluntary muscle

    striated muscle that can be controlled voluntarily
  162. white blood cell

    blood cells that engulf and digest bacteria and fungi
Created on January 21, 2017
(updated April 5, 2017)