ETYM New Lat., from Greek sternon the breast, chest.
(Irregular plural: sternums, or: sterna).
The flat bone that articulates with the clavicles and the first seven pairs of ribs; SYN. breastbone.
Large flat bone at the front of the chest, joined to the ribs.
It gives protection to the heart and lungs. During open heart surgery the sternum must be split to give access to the thorax.