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The term literally means little beam. These are the small beams of bone that form in the connective tissue mesenchyme during intramembranous bone formation. These beams of bone matrix form at equal distances from the neighboring blood vessels taking the branching and anastomosing pattern of the vessels. This early trabecular bone is called woven bone.
This is the diminutive form of the Latin word trabs. Trabs means a beam or timber, therefore trabecula is a little beam.