List of anatomy mnemonics

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This is a list of human anatomy mnemonics, categorized and alphabetized. For mnemonics in other medical specialities, see this list of medical mnemonics.

Afferent vs efferent[edit]

Afferent connection arrives and an efferent connection exits.

Anterior leg Compartment[edit]

"The Hospitals Are Not Dirty Places"

  • Tibialis anterior
  • extensor Hallucis longus
  • anterior tibial Artery
  • deep fibular Nerve
  • extensor Digitorum longus
  • Peronius tertius [aka fibularis tertius][1]

Brachial plexus[edit]

Remember To Drink Cold Beer - Roots, Trunks, Divisions, Cords, Branches

Bowel components[edit]

"Dow Jones Industrial Average Closing Stock Report"[1]

From proximal to distal:

  • Duodenum
  • Jejunum
  • Ileum
  • Appendix
  • Colon
  • Sigmoid
  • Rectum

Carotid sheath contents[edit]

I See 10 CC's in the IV:[1]p. 1

  • I See (I.C.) = Internal Carotid artery
  • 10 = CN 10 (Vagus nerve)
  • CC = Common Carotid artery
  • IV = Internal Jugular Vein

Cavernous sinus contents[edit]

O TOM CAT:[1]p. 1

O TOM are lateral wall components, in order from superior to inferior.

CA are the components within the sinus, from medial to lateral. CA ends at the level of T from O TOM.

  • Occulomotor nerve (III)
  • Trochlear nerve (IV)
  • Ophthalmic nerve (V1)
  • Maxillary nerve (V2)
  • Carotid artery
  • Abducent nerve (VI)
  • T: When written, connects to the T of OTOM

Celiac trunk(Coeliac trunk): branches[edit]

Left Hand Side (LHS):

  • Left gastric artery
  • Hepatic artery
  • Splenic artery

Vertebral column[edit]

can this little servant cook ?

  • Cervical (atlas, axis)
  • thoracic
  • lumbar
  • sacral
  • coccygeal

Tributaries of the Inferior vena cava[edit]

"I Like To Rise So High"

  • Iliac vein (common)
  • Lumbar vein
  • Testicular vein
  • Renal vein
  • Suprarenal vein (direct tributary on right side, empties into left renal vein --> IVC on left side)
  • Hepatic vein[2]

Greater sciatic foramen[edit]

Structures passing through greater sciatic foramen below piriformis (S.N.I.P. N.I.P.)

  • sciatic nerve
  • nerve to obturator internus
  • internal pudendal vessel
  • pudendal nerve
  • nerve to quadratus femoris
  • inferior gluteal vessels
  • posterior cutaneous nerve of thigh

Lesser sciatic foramen[edit]

Structures passing through lesser sciatic foramen: (P.I.N.T.)

  • pudendal nerve
  • internal pudendal vessels
  • nerve to obturator internus
  • tendon of obturator internus

Tarsal tunnel[edit]

a mnemonic to remember the contents of the Tarsal tunnel from anterior to posterior is "Tom, Dick and Harry".[3][4][5] or alternatively "Tom, Dick (and very nervous) Harry" if the artery, vein, and nerve are included.

Subclavian artery[edit]

The branches of the subclavian artery can be remembered using VITamin C and D.

Posterior mediastinum[edit]

The contents of posterior mediastinum can be remembered using the mnemonic, "DATES"

  • Descending aorta
  • Azygous vein and hemiazygos vein
  • Thoracic duct
  • Esophagus
  • Sympathetic trunk/ganglia.[6]

Superior orbital fissure[edit]

Standing room only can be used to remember that:

  • V1 passes through the superior orbital fissure
  • V2 through the foramen rotundum
  • V3 through the foramen ovale.[7]

Foramen magnum[edit]

Contents of the foramen magnum: VAMPS-ATM OR VAMPires Sing AT Midnight

  • Vertebral arteries
  • Anterior Spinal artery
  • Meningeal branches of the cervical nerves
  • Posterior spinal arteries
  • Spinal part of the accessory nerve
  • Alar and Apical ligaments of the dense
  • Tectorial membrane
  • Medulla oblongata[citation needed]


Deep cerebellar nuclei and their positions relative to the midline: "Fat Guys Eat Donuts," where each letter indicates the medial to lateral location in the cerebellar white matter

Pes anserinus[edit]

A mnemonic to remember the muscles that contribute tendons to the pes anserinus and the innervations of these muscles is SGT FOT (sergeant FOT)

Notice the order of the muscles (S, G, T) follows the order of the innervating nerves which correspond to those muscles (F, O, T)[citation needed]

Another anterior to posterior is “Say Grace before Tea” Sartorius, Gracilis, semiTendinosus.

Femoral triangle[edit]

The femoral triangle is shaped like the sail of a sailing ship and hence its boundaries can be remembered using the mnemonic, "SAIL":

  • Sartorius
  • Adductor longus
  • Inguinal Ligament.[8]

The order of structures in the femoral triangle is important in the embalming of bodies, as the femoral artery is often exposed and used to pump embalming fluids into the body. The order of this neurovascular bundle can be remembered using the mnemonic, "NAVY":

  • Nerve
  • Artery
  • Vein
  • Y -fronts (the British term of a style of men's underwear with a "Y" shaped front that acts as a fly). The "Y" is midline (corresponding with the penis) and the mnemonic always reads from lateral to medial (in other words, the Femoral Nerve is always lateral).

An alternate to this mnemonic is "NAVEL" for Nerve, Artery, Vein, Empty Space and Lymph, to include the deep inguinal lymph nodes located medial to the Femoral vein.[citation needed]

Popliteal fossa[edit]

A useful mnemonic to remember popliteal fossa anatomy (medial-to-lateral arrangement) is: Serve And Volley Next Ball.

  • S: semimembranosus and semitendinosus (superior medial border)
  • A: artery (popliteal artery)
  • V: vein (popliteal vein)
  • N: nerve (tibial nerve)
  • B: biceps femoris (superior lateral border). The lateral and medial heads of gastrocnemius form the inferior border.[9]

Cranial nerves[edit]

There are many mnemonics for the names of the cranial nerves, e.g.

  • "OOOTTAFAGVSH" is "OLd OPen OCeans TROuble TRIbesmen ABout Fish VEnom Giving VArious ACute/SPlitting Headaches" (a mnemonic that gives enough letters to distinguish between nerves that start with the same letter), or "On old Olympus's towering tops, a Finn and German viewed some hops,"[10] and for the initial letters "OOOTTAFVGVAH" is "Oh, oh, oh, to touch and feel very good velvet ... ah, heaven."[11] The differences between these depend on "acoustic" versus "vestibulocochlear" and "spinal-accessory" versus "accessory".
  • A common example mnemonic for remembering which nerves are motor (M), sensory (S), or both (B), "Some Say Marry Money But My Brother Says Benevolent Bride Matters More". There are a very large number of additional mnemonics.[12]
  • For the five branches of the facial nerve there are: Two Zebras Bit My Cookie or To Zanzibar By MotorCar
List of mnemonics for the cranial nerves, their respective type and foramen
NERVE: Olfactory nerve Optic nerve Oculomotor nerve Pathic (Trochlear) nerve Trigeminal (dentist) nerve Abducens nerve Facial nerve Vestibulo-cochlear (Auditory) nerve Glosso-pharyngeal nerve Vagus nerve Spinal Accessory nerve Hypoglossal nerve
Ophthalmic Maxillary Mandibular
(for nerve)[13]
OLd OPen OCeans TROuble TRIbesmen ABout Fish VEnom Giving VArious ACute / SPlitting Headaches
TYPE: Sensory Sensory Motor Motor Both (sensory + motor) Motor Both Sensory Both Both Motor Motor
(for type)[14]
Some Say Marry Money, But My Brother Says Big Business Makes Money
FORAMINA: Cribriform plate Optic canal Superior Orbital Fissure Superior Orbital Fissure Superior Orbital Fissure Foramen Rotundum Foramen Ovale Superior Orbital Fissure Internal Acoustic Meatus Internal Acoustic Meatus Jugular Foramen Jugular Foramen Jugular Foramen Hypoglossal Canal
(for foramina)
Cleaners Only Spray Smelly Stuff Right On Smelly Idiots In Jumbled Junkyards Juggled High
Carl Only Swims South. Silly Roger Only Swims In Infiniti Jacuzzis. Jane Just Hitchhikes.

Diaphragm apertures: spinal levels[edit]

Many mnemonics are used for diaphragm apertures including:

Number of letters[edit]

  • Aortic hiatus = 12 letters = T12
  • Oesophagus = 10 letters = T10
  • Vena cava = 8 letters = T8[1]p. 1

I ate 10 eggs at 12[edit]

  • I = IVC
  • ate = T8
  • 10 = T10
  • Eggs = Esophagus
  • At = Aorta
  • 12 = T12

"I Read Very Old And Torn Articles" - IVC, Right phrenic nerve, Vagus, Oesophagus, Aorta, Thoracic duct, Azygous vein.[clarify]

(V)oice (O)f (A)merica[edit]

  • V- vena cava -T8
  • O-oesophagus-T10
  • A-aorta-T12

Duodenum: lengths of parts[edit]

"Counting 1 to 4 but staggered":[1]p. 1

  • 1st part: 2 inches
  • 2nd part: 3 inches
  • 3rd part: 4 inches
  • 4th part: 1 inch

Endocrine glands[edit]

The major glands of the endocrine system, excluding ovaries and testes: "T-A-P." (T2, A3, P4)

  • Thymus
  • Thyroid
  • Anterior pituitary
  • Adrenal cortex
  • Adrenal medulla
  • Posterior pituitary
  • Parathyroid gland
  • Pancreas
  • Pineal[15]

G.I. tract layers (simplified)[edit]


  • Mucosa
  • Submucosa
  • Muscularis propria
  • Serosa[16]

Kidney functions[edit]

A WET BED[edit]

  • A – maintaining ACID-base balance
  • W – maintaining WATER balance
  • E – ELECTROLYTE balance
  • T – TOXIN removal
  • B – BLOOD Pressure control
  • D – Vitamin D metabolism

Lateral geniculate nucleus[edit]

A simple mnemonic for remembering this[clarify] is "See I? I see, I see," with "see" representing the C in "contralateral," and "I" representing the I in "ipsilateral." Another is "Emily and Pete meet eye to eye" as in "M and P meet I to I," or again, Magno and Parvo meet Ipsi to Ipsi.

Another way of remembering this[clarify] is 2+3=5, which is correct, so ipsilateral side, and 1+4 doesn't equal 6, so contralateral.

Placenta-crossing substances[edit]

WANT My Hot Dog[17]

  • Wastes
  • Antibodies
  • Nutrients
  • Teratogens
  • Microorganisms
  • Hormones, HIV
  • Drugs


A mnemonic to remember the layers of the retina:

My Membrane (internal limiting)
Nerves Nerve fibers
Get Ganglions
In Inner plexiform
Knots Inner nuclear
Outside Outer plexiform
Our Outer nuclear
Easy External limiting membrane
Practice Photoreceptors
Review Retinal pigment epithelium

Sperm: path through male reproductive system[edit]

"My boyfriend's name is STEVE":[1]

  • Seminiferous Tubules
  • Epididymis
  • Vas deferens
  • Ejaculatory duct

Sternal angle[edit]

For structures lying at the level of the sternal angle, the following mnemonic can be used:


  • Rib 2
  • Aortic arch
  • Tracheal bifurcation
  • Pulmonary trunk
  • Ligamentum arteriosum
  • Left recurrent laryngeal
  • Azygos Vein
  • Nerves (Cardiac and Pulmonary plexuses)
  • Thoracic duct


is a more detailed mnemonic including:

  • Phrenic and Vagus Nerve
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Oblique fissure of lungs (top of it)
  • Thymus
  • Esophagus (trending right to left)
  • Aortic Arch (bottom of the arch)
  • Rib 2, Manubrium-sternal angle, T4(more specifically T4-5 disc)
  • Tracheal Bifurcation (Carina: Latin –like keel of boat)
  • Heart
  • Pulmonary trunk bifurcation
  • L2 : Left Recurrent Laryngeal (Looping under Aorta); Ligamentum Arteriosum: Connects Aortic Arch to Pulmonary. Bifurcation
  • Azygous vein arches over the root of the Rt. Lung and opens in SVC.
  • Nerve plexi: Cardiac and Pulmonary Plexus
  • Thoracic duct (on its way to drain into the Left Subclavian)
  • SVC going down


  • Breakfast at 7:00--- 7 cervical vertebrae
  • Lunch at 12:00--- 12 thoracic vertebrae
  • Dinner at 5:00--- 5 lumbar vertebrae[18]


  • Carpal bones:

Some Lovers Try Positions That They Can't Handle:
Scaphoid, Lunatum, Triquetrum, Pisiforme, Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate and Hamate

  • Carpal Bones:

She Looks Too Pretty Try To Catch Her:
Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetrum, Pisiforme, Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate and Hamate

  • Carpal bones:

Scabby Lucy Tried Pissing Hours after Copulating Two Twins:
Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetrum, Pisiforme, Hamate, Capitate, Trapezoid, and Trapezium:
In clockwise order from Scaphoid-remember zoids do not touch each other. M. Hall

  • Carpal bones:

So Long To Pinky Here Comes The Thumb:
Straight Line To Pinky Here Comes The Thumb:
Scaphoid, Lunatum, Triquetrum, Pisiforme, Hamate, Capitate, Trapezoid, Trapezium

Internal iliac artery: branches[edit]

I Like Going Places Using My Very Own Unmanned Vehicle
Posterior division:

  • Iliolumbar artery
  • Lateral sacral artery
  • Superior gluteal artery

Anterior division:

  • Inferior gluteal artery
  • Internal pudendal artery
  • Umbilical artery
  • Middle rectal artery
  • Superior and inferior vesical artery
  • Obturator artery
  • Uterine artery (female)
  • Vaginal artery (female)

Coronal section of brain (structures)[edit]

"In Extremis, Cannibals Eat People's Globus Pallidi Instead of Their Hearts":

From insula to midline:

  • Insula
  • Extreme capsule
  • Claustrum
  • External capsule
  • Putamen
  • Globus pallidus
  • Internal capsule
  • Thalamus
  • Hypothalamus

Anterior Pituitary Hormones[edit]

FLAG TOP[edit]

  • FSH
  • LH
  • ACTH
  • GH
  • TSH
  • MelanOcyte Stimulating Hormone
  • Prolactin


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Anatomy" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  2. ^ "Inferior vena cava: tributaries". LifeHugger. 27 September 2009.
  3. ^ "Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome & Nerve Entrapments". Archived from the original on November 4, 2006. Retrieved 2014-02-18.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  4. ^ Archived December 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ 1182 7
  6. ^ "Posterior mediastinum: Contents". LifeHugger. 27 September 2009.
  7. ^ 38
  8. ^ "Medical mnemonics". LifeHugger. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
  9. ^ Niknejad, Mohammad Taghi. "Popliteal fossa anatomy (mnemonic) | Radiology Reference Article |". Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  10. ^ Dennis Long (2006). Vive Les Verbes Français!: 6,000 Verbs to Add Savoir-Flair to Your French. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-07-147875-5.
  11. ^ Kevin C. Wang; Rita A. Mukhtar; Rodrigo E Saenz (2005). Hardcore Neuroscience. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-4051-0471-5.
  12. ^ Saladin, Kenneth S. (2008). Human anatomy (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill Higher Education. ISBN 0-07-110209-4.
  13. ^ Textbook of Basic Nursing by Caroline Bunker Rosdahl and Mary T. Kowalski (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007) p194; Medical Terminology for Dummies by Beverley Henderson and Jennifer Dorsey (For Dummies, 2008) p327
  14. ^ Caroline Bunker Rosdahl and Mary T. Kowalski, Textbook of Basic Nursing (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007) p194
  15. ^ Ziser. "The Endocrine System (Major Endocrine Glands)" (PDF). p. 1. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Four layers of the Gastointestinal Tract". University of Leeds. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  17. ^ Mega List of Mnemonics for Nurses & Nursing Students. Examville Study Guides. 2010.
  18. ^ "Skeletal Anatomy: Vertebrae and Thoracic Cage". Retrieved 28 January 2015.