Anatomy word of the month: Acetabulum

March 1, 2012 —

acetabulum“Vinegar cup” in Latin. The hip joint is made up of a deep rounded socket, the acetabulum, on the side of the pelvis and the round head of the femur (thigh bone). It is a very stable joint that is a compromise in structure which trades off the superior mobility, but less stability, of our shoulder joint for the task of supporting our body weight while walking. The Romans used a cup-like container for vinegar for the table and as a unit measure of volume. The same root, acetum, is found in acetic acid, the essential ingredient of vinegar. At the time, the primary source for vinegar was sour wine which is the exact meaning of “vinegar” in Latin!


Dr. Dyche was born in New Jersey and trained at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center before coming to Des Moines in 1976. Over 30 plus years he has taught gross anatomy, embryology and neuroanatomy. He also served in administration as associate dean for basic sciences, dean of the College of Health Sciences, and acting director of the PA program. He was one of the founding instructors of CPR and ACLS at a time when few medical schools offered this training. He retired to Oregon in 2008, then returned to DMU in 2009. Did he miss the tornadoes, the below zero wind chills or the cadavers?