Note: The supraspinatus is one of the four muscles of the rotator cuff. The infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis are covered in separate articles:

What’s in a name

Rotator Cuff:

  • rotate (v.) 1794, intransitive, back-formation from rotation. Transitive sense from 1823. Related:Rotated; rotating. Rotator “muscle which allows a part to be moved circularly” is recorded from 1670s. (Etymology Online)
  • cuff (n.) “bottom of a sleeve,” mid-14c., cuffe “hand covering, mitten, glove,” perhaps somehow from Medieval Latin cuffia “head covering,” of uncertain origin. Sense of “band around the sleeve” is first attested 1520s; sense of “hem of trousers” is 1911. (Etymology Online)
    • "A covering that rotates"

Note the course of the suprascapular nerve -


  • supra- word-forming element meaning "above, over, beyond, before," from Latin supra "above, over, before, beyond, on the upper side," in supera (parte), literally "on the upper (side)," from old fem. ablative singular of superus (adj.) "above," related to super"above, over" (see super-). In English interchangeable with, but somewhat more technical than, super-. Rare as a prefix in Latin, more common in Medieval Latin, in English chiefly scientific or technical. (Etymology Online)
  • spine (n.) c. 1400, "backbone," later "thornlike part" (early 15c.), from Old French espine "thorn, prickle; backbone, spine" (12c., Modern French épine), from Latin spina "backbone," originally "thorn, prickle" (Etymology Online)
  • natal (adj.) late 14c., "of or pertaining to birthdays," from Latin natalis "pertaining to birth or origin," (Old Latin gnasci; see genus) (