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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hippocampus \Hip`po*cam"pus\, n. [L., the sea horse, Gr. ? a hippocampus (in senses 1 and 2); "i`ppos horse + ? to bend.]

  1. (Class. Myth.) A fabulous monster, with the head and fore quarters of a horse joined to the tail of a dolphin or other fish ( Hippocampus brevirostris), -- seen in Pompeian paintings, attached to the chariot of Neptune.

  2. (Zo["o]l.) A genus of lophobranch fishes of several species in which the head and neck have some resemblance to those of a horse; -- called also sea horse.

    Note: They swim slowly, in an erect position, and often cling to seaweeds by means of the incurved prehensile tail. The male has a ventral pouch, in which it carries the eggs till hatched.

  3. (Zo["o]l.) A name applied to either of two ridges of white matter in each lateral ventricle of the brain. The larger is called hippocampus major or simply hippocampus. The smaller, hippocampus minor, is called also ergot and calcar.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1600, a kind of sea monster, part horse and part dolphin or fish (they are often pictured pulling Neptune's chariot), from Late Latin hippocampus, from Greek hippokampos, from hippos "horse" + kampos "a sea monster," perhaps related to kampe "caterpillar." Used from 1570s as a name of a type of fish; of a part of the brain from 1706, on supposed resemblance to the fish.


n. 1 A mythological creature with the front head and forelimbs of a horse and the rear of a dolphin; a hippocamp. 2 (context anatomy English) A part of the brain located inside the temporal lobe, consisting mainly of grey matter. It is a component of the limbic system and plays a role in memory and emotion. So named because of its resemblance to the seahorse.

  1. n. a complex neural structure (shaped like a sea horse) consisting of gray matter and located on the floor of each lateral ventricle; intimately involved in motivation and emotion as part of the limbic system; has a central role in the formation of memories

  2. seahorses [syn: genus Hippocampus]

  3. [also: hippocampi (pl)]


The hippocampus (named after its resemblance to the seahorse, from the Greek ἱππόκαμπος, "seahorse" from ἵππος hippos, "horse" and κάμπος kampos, "sea monster") is a major component of the brains of humans and other vertebrates. Humans and other mammals have two hippocampi, one in each side of the brain. It belongs to the limbic system and plays important roles in the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and spatial navigation. The hippocampus is located under the cerebral cortex; and in primates it is located in the medial temporal lobe, underneath the cortical surface. It contains two main interlocking parts: the hippocampus proper (also called Ammon's horn) and the dentate gyrus.

In Alzheimer's disease, the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage; memory loss and disorientation are included among the early symptoms. Damage to the hippocampus can also result from oxygen starvation ( hypoxia), encephalitis, or medial temporal lobe epilepsy. People with extensive, bilateral hippocampal damage may experience anterograde amnesia—the inability to form and retain new memories.

In rodents, the hippocampus has been studied extensively as part of a brain system responsible for spatial memory and navigation. Many neurons in the rat and mouse hippocampus respond as place cells: that is, they fire bursts of action potentials when the animal passes through a specific part of its environment. Hippocampal place cells interact extensively with head direction cells, whose activity acts as an inertial compass, and conjecturally with grid cells in the neighboring entorhinal cortex.

Since different neuronal cell types are neatly organized into layers in the hippocampus, it has frequently been used as a model system for studying neurophysiology. The form of neural plasticity known as long-term potentiation (LTP) was first discovered to occur in the hippocampus and has often been studied in this structure. LTP is widely believed to be one of the main neural mechanisms by which memory is stored in the brain.

Hippocampus (mythology)

The hippocampus or hippocamp, also hippokampoi (plural: hippocampi or hippocamps; , from , "horse" and , "monster"), often called a sea-horse in English, is a mythological creature shared by Phoenician and Greek mythology, though the name by which it is recognised is purely Greek. It was also adopted into Etruscan mythology. It has typically been depicted as having the upper body of a horse with the lower body of a fish.

Hippocampus (disambiguation)

Hippocampus may refer to:

  • Hippocampus, an anatomical subdivision of the brain, so named for its physical resemblance to a seahorse (genus Hippocampus).
  • Hippocampus (Dungeons & Dragons), a type of magical beast
  • Hippocampus (genus), the seahorse genus
  • Hippocampus (journal)
  • Hippocampus (mythology) or hippocamp, a mythological sea-horse
Hippocampus (journal)

Hippocampus is a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal established in 1991. It is published by John Wiley & Sons and on the neurobiology of the hippocampal formation and related structures. The editor-in-chief is Howard Eichenbaum ( Boston University).

Hippocampus (Dungeons & Dragons)

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the hippocampus is a type of magical beast.

Usage examples of "hippocampus".

Penfield believed that this lost accessing ability arises from an inadequate blood supply to the hippocampus in old age-because of arteriosclerosis or other physical disabilities.

The title not only confirmed the centrality of the hippocampus to studies of animal learning, but was also symbolic of the conceptual shift amongst psychologists away from the crudities of behaviourism and simple associationism towards an understanding of animals, like humans, as cognitive organisms.

Calibrate the neurotracer to monitor at the cingulate gyrus, isthmus, hippocampal gyrus, uncus, and hippocampus.

Annette Dolphin, working with Tim Bliss, showed that, when the perforant pathway is stimulated in vivo, there is an increased release of glutamate in the hippocampus, and the biochemical mechanisms of this release were mapped in some detail by Marina Lynch.

All readings looked fine: glutamate, serotonin, do-pamine, cortical suppressant, amygdala regulator, P15, BDNF to strengthen the synaptic connections for learning in the hippocampus.

A major component of our ability to remember and recall is localized in the hippocampus, a structure within the limbic system.

A device, with hundreds of hair thin needles, pierces the scalp and produces a detailed 3-D map, a grid, which gives us the precise location of the ridges of the hippocampus ventricle and the pineal gland.

Bink exploded, thinking of what the hippocampus and manticora would do to him if they got a second chance.

Here your hippocampus responded with an identical theta rhythm while the neocortical EEG flattened.

Nonetheless certain important general neurobiological principles have emerged from the last decades of experimentation, on chicks, on the hippocampus, on Aplysia, and on many other experimental models which I have not found space to mention here.

An autopsy turned up encephalitis and myelitis of the brain, including Negri bodies in the pyramidal cells of the hippocampus, and Purkinje cells of the cerebellum.

The connection is clearly shown by the profound memory impairment that results from lesions of the hippocampus.

PET scans of working clairvoyants, my father found that the areas in the brain most important for clairvoyance were the same areas responsible for autism: the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the neocerebellum.

And pyramidal neurons in the frontal cortex and hippocampus accumulated calpain, which meant they were vulnerable to calcium influxes, which damaged them.

Autopsies of people over two hundred who had died of the quick decline regularly showed serious calcification of the pineal gland, coupled with increases in calpain levels in the hippocampus.