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Related to vertebrochondral rib: False ribs, vertebral rib, vertebrosternal rib


rib, one of the slender, elongated, curved bones that compose the chest cage in higher vertebrates. Ribs occur in pairs, and are found in most vertebrates; however, in some lower vertebrates, including fishes, they run along the entire length of the backbone. The ribs of the snake are used in locomotion. In the human there are 12 pairs of ribs. Each rib is connected to the vertebral column by strong ligaments. In the front, a flexible section of cartilage connects the rib to the sternum, or breastbone. Below the 7th rib, the 8th, 9th, and 10th ribs are not attached directly to the sternum, but to the cartilage of the 7th rib. The 11th and 12th pairs of ribs are not attached in front at all, and hence are known as floating ribs. Technically, these ribs do not “float,” however, but are attached to the vertebral column in the rear and extend only part of the way around the chest. In birds and mammals, ribs enclose the lungs and heart and assist in the process of breathing. During inhalation the ribs move upward and farther apart, expanding the chest cavity. During exhalation their downward motion aids in expelling air from the lungs. See skeleton.
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A curved structural member supporting any curved shape or panel; a molding that projects from the surface and separates the various roof or ceiling panels.

diagonal rib

A projecting rib that crosses a square or rectangular rib vault from corner to corner.

groined rib

A rib under a curve of a groin, used as a device to either mask or support it.

intermediate rib

A subordinate vault rib between primary ribs.

ridge rib

A continuous, projecting rib connecting the apexes of the intermediate ribs of a rib vault with the center of the vault.


An intermediate rib between the main rib of a Gothic vault.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(in aircraft construction), an element of the transverse primary structure of the wing truss, tail assembly, or other parts of an aircraft that is designed to impart to them the shape of an airfoil section. Ribs are attached to the longitudinal framework (stringers or spars) and are the basis for attaching the skin.



any one of the paired elements of the axial skeleton in vertebrates, including man, that articulate with the spine. Ribs form primarily in the myosepta between successive muscle segments of the trunk.

There are two types of ribs in animals—upper and lower ribs. The lower ribs are primarily located along the sides of the entire body cavity between the abdominal and lateral muscles, along the interior edge of the transverse myosepta. These ribs are established near the spinal column and grow centrifugally. The upper ribs lie in the thick of the musculature, where the horizontal myoseptum, which separates spinal from ventral musculature, intersects the transverse myosepta. These ribs are established near the exterior edges of the transverse myosepta and grow centripetally.

The lower ribs support the musculature and, by covering the body cavity, protect the internal organs. Initially, the upper ribs apparently not only supported but also protected organs of the lateral line. It seems that ancient vertebrates had both upper and lower ribs, as do existing Polypterus. Caudates and salientians have upper ribs and Gymnophiona and all amniotes have lower ribs; some believe that all terrestrial vertebrates have only upper ribs. In fish and amphibians the ventral tip of the ribs ends freely, being located in the thick of the muscles. In amniotes part of the ribs are joined to the sternum and form the thorax—these ribs are called true sternal ribs. False ribs are joined to true ribs and not to the sternum. Floating ribs, which terminate freely, are located behind false ribs.

In terrestrial vertebrates ribs are articulated with the spine in two places: a capitulum and a tuberculum, which develop on the distal tips of the ribs, are connected, respectively, with the bodies of the vertebrae and the transverse process. This ensures the strength of the articulation and the mobility of the ribs, which are extremely important for costal respiration. In terrestrial vertebrates rudimentary cervical ribs are joined to cervical vertebrae; sacral ribs, which support the pelvis, are joined to sacral vertebrae.

In man there are 12 pairs of ribs. Each rib has a long bony portion and a short cartilaginous one. The seven upper ribs are true ribs, the eighth, ninth, and tenth ribs are false ribs, and the 11th and 12th ribs are floating ribs. Fractures are the most common disorders of the ribs.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(aerospace engineering)
A transverse structural member that gives cross-sectional shape and strength to a portion of an airfoil.
One of the long curved bones forming the wall of the thorax in vertebrates.
A primary vein in a leaf.
A layer or dike of rock forming a small ridge on a steep mountainside.
(mining engineering)
A solid pillar of coal or ore left for support.
A thin stratum in a seam of coal.
A straight, raised cord in a fabric, formed by a heavy thread in any direction.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


ribs, 2 dividing a ceiling into squares
rib, 1 of an arch
1. A curved structural member supporting any curved shape or panel.
2. In vaulted roofs, the moldings which project from the surface and separate the various roof or ceiling panels.
3. A raised ridge or fold which is formed in sheet metal (or a formed section attached thereto) to provide stiffness.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


ribclick for a larger image
The part of an aircraft structure that gives the aerodynamic shape to the wing and support to the spars stabilizes the spars against twisting and the stringers and the skin against buckling, and passes concentrated loads into the skin and the spars. In a wing, the ribs run from the leading to the trailing edge, and they are cambered to form an airfoil section and give the wing its shape. A covering is provided to this framework.
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


1. any of the 24 curved elastic arches of bone that together form the chest wall in humans. All are attached behind to the thoracic part of the spinal column
2. the corresponding bone in other vertebrates
3. a structural member in a wing that extends from the leading edge to the trailing edge and maintains the shape of the wing surface
4. a projecting moulding or band on the underside of a vault or ceiling, which may be structural or ornamental
5. any of the transverse stiffening timbers or joists forming the frame of a ship's hull
6. any of the larger veins of a leaf
7. a projecting ridge of a mountain; spur
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005