A pointed cartilage attached to the lower end of the breastbone or sternum, the smallest and lowest division of the sternum. Cartilaginous early in life, it may become ossified (bony) in adults. It is sometimes simply called the xiphoid. Also known as the ensiform cartilage or process.
The ancient Greeks thought the xiphoid looked like the tip of a sword. The word xiphoid is from the Greek xiphos, "straight sword" plus eidos, "like" resulting in "straight sword". Ensiform is from the Latin ensis, "sword" plus forma, "shape" equals "sword shape".