UPDATED: The scapula, known vernacularly as the "shoulder blade", is a flat, triangular bone that forms the posterior portion of the shoulder girdle. It is described with two surfaces, three borders, and three angles. The scapula attaches to the clavicle by way of the acromioclavicular joint and ligaments. Seventeen muscles attach to the scapula and are discussed in a different article.
This bone actually has two names depending on the language used. In English we use the word [scapula] which has a Latin origin, while in some Latin-based languages the word [omóplato] (Spanish, in this case) has a Greek origin!
[Scapula] originates from the Latin [scapula] (scapula), meaning “shoulder”, also “the back”. The later derivation into “shoulder blade” in English has no known history, except perhaps for the primitive use of animal scapulae as a blade or a spatula in daily chores.
In Greek the term [ωμοπλάτη] (omopláti) was used to name the scapula. The origin of the word was the combination of the terms [ώμος] (ómos) meaning “shoulder”, and the word [πλάτη] (pláti) meaning “back”. One of the seventeen muscles that attach to the [scapula] is the [omohyoid], where the root term [-omo-] indicates its relation to the scapula.
It was Andreas Vesalius who popularized the name [scapula] selecting it from the many names this bone had at the time (1543), and is today the the accepted “Nomina Anatomica” term.
There is still discrepancy on the name of the bone in other languages.
Anterior view of the left scapula. Image in Public Domain, by Henry Vandyke Carter - Gray's Anatomy
|• English: scapula
• Spanish: omóplato, also escápula
• Italian: scapula
• French: omoplate
• Romanian: omoplat
• Portuguese: escápula
In German, they used the word [schulterblatt] which means "shoulder blade".
The anatomical description of this bone continues in this article
1. "Tratado de Anatomia Humana" Testut et Latarjet 8 Ed. 1931 Salvat Editores, Spain
2. "Gray's Anatomy" 38th British Ed. Churchill Livingstone 1995
3. “The Origin of Medical Terms” Skinner HA 1970 Hafner Publishing Co.
4. "Terminologia Anatomica: International Anatomical Terminology (FCAT)" Thieme, 1998
Note: The links to Google Translate include an icon that will allow you to hear the Greek or Latin pronunciation of the word.