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Noun, pl.fontanelles Also spelled as fontanel. 1. Any membranous gap between the bones of the cranium in an infant or fetus. ( 2. A soft membraneous spot on the head of a baby due to incomplete fusion of the cranial bones. ( 3. An anatomical feature on an infant’s skull comprised by any of the soft membranous gaps between the incompletely formed cranial bones of a foetus or an infant. Fontanelles allow for rapid stretching and deformation of the cranium as the brain expands faster than the surrounding bone can grow. ( Word origin: From French fontanelle (16c.), from Old French fontenele “small source, fountain, spring; fontanelle,” diminutive of fontaine “spring” (see...

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