tendon, tough cord composed of closely packed white fibers of connective tissue that serves to attach muscles to internal structures such as bones or other muscles. Sometimes when the muscle involved is thin and wide, the tendon is not a cord but a thin sheet known as an aponeurosis. The purpose of the tendon in attaching muscle to bone is to enable the power of the muscle to transfer over a distance. For example, when one wants to move a finger, specific muscles in the forearm contract and pull on ligaments that in turn pull the finger bones to produce the desired action.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.