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Underarm of a male human
Deep muscles of the chest and front of the arm, with the boundaries of the axilla.
Latin axilla
Gray's subject #149 585
Artery axillary artery
Vein axillary vein
Nerve axillary nerve, medial cord, posterior cord, lateral cord
Lymph axillary lymph nodes
MeSH Axilla
Dorlands/Elsevier a_76/12171908

The underarm (or armpit, axilla, or oxter) is the area on the human body directly under the joint where the arm connects to the shoulder.



Anatomically, the boundaries are as follows:

inlet/apex: by the outer border of first rib, superior border of scapula, and posterior border of clavicle[1]
medially: serratus anterior [2] and by the ribcage anteriorly: by the pectoralis major, minor,[3] and subclavius [2]

posteriorly: by the subscapularis above, and teres major and latissimus dorsi below[2]

laterally: by the intertubercular sulcus [3] (coracobrachialis and the short head of the biceps brachii are in the axilla.)[2]
floor/base: by the skin[1] (visible surface of armpit)

Underarm hair

Main article: Underarm hair

  Underarm hair usually grows in the underarms of both females and males, beginning in adolescence.

In modern Western culture, it is common for women to remove underarm hair for aesthetic reasons, while men tend to keep it. Throughout the feminist movement, previously in the hippie culture, and in some areas of the punk rock scene, some women choose to keep their underarm hair for a variety of reasons, from subversion to egalitarianism to comfort.

Recently, many men in the U.S. and Europe have begun to remove underarm hair due to popularization by hairless male models and athletes, and thinking it is embarrassing if they show it when wearing a sleeveless shirt.[citation needed]

Body odor

Body odor develops in the underarms due in part to the waste products of microorganisms that feed on sebum, the fatty secretions produced by apocrine glands.

A wide variety of deodorant and antiperspirant products are sold for the purpose of mitigating this odour.

Cultural significance

The underarms are among the locations in the human body which are most vulnerable to tickling.

The sexual attraction to the underarms is called axillism.


The term oxter, pronounced 'ock-ster' is most often used in Scotland,[4] northern England, and Ireland. Northern Ireland generally replaces all other names of underarm for oxter.

The term "underarm" only refers to the outer surface of the axilla.[5] However, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably in casual contexts.

Colloquially, armpit refers to an object or place which is smelly, greasy or otherwise undesirable.[6]

Additional images


  1. ^ a b Anaesthesia UK :�AnaesthesiaUK: Applied anatomy for upper limb blocks. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
  2. ^ a b c d LAB #4 PECTORAL REGION & Introduction to the Axilla. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
  3. ^ a b Dissector Answers - Axilla and Arm. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
  4. ^ BBC - Voices - Multilingual Nation. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
  5. ^ a_61/12152705 at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  6. ^ Definition of armpit - Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Axilla". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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