American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of several nerves that arise in pairs from the brain stem and reach the periphery through openings in the skull. There are 12 such pairs in mammals, birds, and reptiles and usually 10 pairs in amphibians and fish.
- n. neuroanatomy Any of the twelve paired nerves that originate from the brainstem instead of the spinal cord.
- n. any of the 12 paired nerves that originate in the brain stem
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