Second Edition

International Embryological Terminology


The Federative International Programme for Anatomical Terminology
A programme of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA)


Bibliographic Reference Citation:
FIPAT. Terminologia Embryologica. 2nd ed.  FIPAT.library.dal.ca.  Federative International Programme for Anatomical Terminology,  February 2017

Published pending approval by the General Assembly at the next Congress of IFAA (2019)

Creative Commons License:
The publication of Terminologia Embryologica is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0) license

The individual terms in this terminology are within the public domain.  Statements about terms being part of this international standard terminology should use the above bibliographic reference to cite this terminology.  The unaltered PDF files of this terminology may be freely copied and distributed by users.  IFAA member societies are authorized to publish translations of this terminology.  Authors of other works that might be considered derivative should write to the Chair of FIPAT for permission to publish a derivative work.



This, second edition of Terminologia Embryologica, was developed from the published Terminologia Embryologica [1]. It has been expanded substantially in extent and comprehensiveness, with the inclusion of new terms from the fields of normal development, congenital anomalies and growth variations. This is in accordance with the FIPAT policy of enhancing clinical relevance. It incorporates new, relevant terms in clinical areas and in anatomical science fields such as embryology, neuroscience, stem cell biology and in vitro fertilisation.

The format is changed relative to that of the 2013 publication. The order of the early, more general sections was changed to a more consistent sequence, and the principal location of terms relating to early development was brought forward from the Stages section. As before, the main part consists of pure terms, the development of the early embryo and sections covering the later development of each system. The arrangement of terms follows the developmental sequence as closely as possible. The final part is chronological, indicating the times of appearance and prevalence of individual features and includes the Carnegie Stages.

The official FIPAT terms are in Latin. This enables translation into any vernacular, in the present instance English. The document is divided into five chapters (see below). New terms were introduced in all sections of TE, in particular: The CNS section was extended and revised in response to new molecular data. So were terms relating to stem cells, taking into account recent developments in that field. There was a major increase in the number of terms relating to congenital anomalies, the core clinical elements of TE. These are becoming increasingly relevant as imaging technologies and clinical genetics identify and classify progressively more of them.  Many of these were taken from the excellent set of papers in Elements of Morphology: Standard Terminology, produced by a group of over 30 clinical geneticists [2-9], and a clinical text on dysmorphologies [10]. Only terms describing qualitatively unequivocal or quantitatively determinable anomalies [11] were included. The Latin terms have been reviewed by members of the FIPAT Latin Subcommittee.


  1. FIPAT. 2013. Terminologia Embryologica.  Stuttgart: Thieme.
  2. Carey JC. 2009. Editorial comment: Editor’s foreword to a special issue ‘Elements of Morphology: Standard terminology’. Am J Med Genet Part A 149A:1
  3. Allanson JE, Biesecker LG, Carey JC, Hennekam 2009. Elements of morphology: Introduction. Am J Med Genet Part A 149A:2-5.
  4. Allanson JE, Cunniff C, Hoyme HE, McGaughran J, Muenke M, Neri G. 2009. Elements of morphology: Standard terminology for the head and face. Am J Med Genet Part A 149A:6-28.
  5. Hall BD, Graham JM Jr., Cassidy SB, Opitz JM. 2009. Elements of morphology: Standard terminology for the periorbital region. Am J Med Genet Part A 149A:29-39.
  6. Hunter A, Frias J, Gillessen-Kaesbach G, Hughes H, Jones K, Wilson L. 2009. Elements of morphology: Standard terminology for the ear. Am J Med Genet Part A 149A:40-60.
  7. Hennekam RCM, Cormier-Daire V, Hall J, Méhes K, Patton M, Stevenson R. 2009. Elements of morphology: Standard terminology for the nose and philtrum. Am J Med Genet Part A 149A:61-76.
  8. Carey JC, Cohen MM Jr., Curry CJR, Devriendt K, Holmes LB, Verloes A. 2009. Elements of morphology: Standard terminology for the lips, mouth and oral region. Am J Med Genet Part A 147A:77-92.
  9. Biesecker LG, Aase JM, Clericuzio C, Gurrieri F, Temple IK, Toriello H. 2009. Elements of morphology: Standard terminology for the hands and feet. Am J Med Genet Part A 147A:93-127.
  10. Reardon W.  2015. The Bedside Dysmorphologist, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press.
  11. Gripp KW, Slavotinek AM, Hall JG, Allanson JE.  2007. Handbook of Physical Measurements.  2nd ed.  Oxford University Press.

John Fraher
Coordinator TE; Chair FIPAT



FIPAT wishes to thank the Dalhousie University Libraries for covering the costs of publication, and all the institutions, sections, departments, Societies and Associations that materially and financially supported its members in their work.

FIPAT meetings were held in conjunction with and thus assisted by the XVIIIth Congress of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists [Beijing 2014], the International Symposium on Morphology [Istanbul 2015] and the Anatomische Gesellschaft [Göttingen 2016].

FIPAT wishes to thank the following Experts/Consultants who assisted the TE Working Group during its deliberations: Pierre Sprumont [Switzerland], Alessandro Riva [Italy], Kieran McDermott [Ireland], Hans-Werner Denker [Germany], Colin Wendell-Smith* [Australia], Bernard Moxham [UK], Martina Kapitonova [Russia and Malaysia], Rick Livesey [UK], Luis Puelles (Spain), David Brynmor Thomas [UK], Beate Brand-Saberi [Germany], Marina Quartu [Italy], David Kachlik [Czech Republic] with the aid and support of the Officers of FIPAT [Pierre Sprumont (Secretary), Paul E. Neumann (Deputy Secretary; Canada)] and the Latin Subcommittee [John Fraher, Paul E. Neumann, Pierre Sprumont, Alessandro Riva].
* former Secretary to FCAT and subsequently FICAT, deceased

While the individuals acknowledged here gave expert advice, the final Terminology is the responsibility of FIPAT.

Embryology Working Group

  • John Fraher, Coordinator [Ireland]
  • Jonathan Bard [UK]
  • Bruce Carlson [USA]
  • Darrell Evans [UK and Australia]
  • Hans ten Donkelaar [Netherlands]
  • Christof Viebahn [Germany]




  • Title
  • License
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Contents
  • User Guide

Part 1

  • Ch. 1 Nomina generalia
  • Ch. 2 Embryogenesis
  • Ch. 3 Ontogenesis
  • Ch. 4 Histogenesis generalis

Part 2 – Ch. 5 Organogenesis

  • Systema skeletale
  • Systema musculare
  • Facies
  • Systema digestorium

Part 3 – Organogenesis (continued)

  • Systema respiratorium
  • Systema urinarium
  • Systemata genitalia
  • Coeloma et septa
  • Glandulae endocrinae
  • Systema cardiovasculare
  • Systema lymphoideum

Part 4

  • Organogenesis (cont.): Systema nervosum, Organa sensuum, Integumentum commune
  • Ch. 6 Adnexa embryonica et fetalia

Part 5

  • Ch. 7 Notatio temporum ontologicorum
  • Ch. 8 Nomina dysmorphica