American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The thin elastic cartilaginous structure located at the root of the tongue that folds over the glottis to prevent food and liquid from entering the trachea during the act of swallowing.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A valve-like organ which helps to prevent the entrance of food and drink into the larynx during deglutition. In man the epiglottis is of oblong figure, broad and round above, attached by its narrow base to the anterior angle of the upper border of the thyroid cartilage or Adam's-apple, and also to the hyoid or tongue-bone, and the tongue itself; its ligaments for these attachments are the thyro-epiglottic, hyo-epiglottic, and glosso-epiglottic, the latter three in number, forming folds of mucous membrane. The muscles of the epiglottis are three, the thyro-epiglottideus and the superior and inferior aryteno-epiglottideus. Its substance is elastic yellow fibrocartilage, covered with mucous membrane continuous with that of the fauces and air-passages. In its ordinary state, as during respiration, the epiglottis stands upon end, uncovering the opening of the larynx; during the act of deglutition it is brought backward so as to protect this orifice. Any similar structure in the lower animals receives the same name. See cuts under
- n. In Polyzoa, same as epistoma.
- n. In entomology, same as epipharynæ.
- n. anatomy A cartilaginous organ in the throat of terrestrial vertebrates covering the glottis when swallowing to prevent food and liquid from entering the trachea, and in Homo sapiens also a speech organ.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Anat.) A cartilaginous lidlike appendage which closes the glottis while food or drink is passing while food or drink is passing through the pharynx.
- n. a flap of cartilage that covers the windpipe while swallowing
- from New Latin, from Greek "epi-" on + "glottis" (Wiktionary)
- Greek epiglōttis : epi-, epi- + glōttis, glottis; see glottis. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Moreover, just in front of it there is a fold of mucous membrane called the epiglottis, which is in reality a tiny trapdoor closing over the opening when necessity requires.”
“The epiglottis, which is located at the back of the throat, is a thin, elastic piece of cartilage that covers the trachea during swallowing.”
“The epiglottis is a small leaf shaped membrane situated immediately behind the root of the tongue and covers the larynx during swallowing.”
“In betwixt the two openings comes the so-called epiglottis, an organ capable of being drawn over and covering the orifice of the windpipe communicating with the mouth; the end of the tongue is attached to the epiglottis.”
“This is the epiglottis, which is much like a box lid that swings over the opening between the throat and the voice box.”
“Symington found that in infants between six and twelve months of age the tip of the epiglottis was a little above the level of the fibrocartilage between the odontoid process and body of the axis, and that between infancy and adult life the larynx descends for a distance equal to two vertebral bodies and two intervertebral fibrocartilages.”
“In front of the epiglottis are the median and lateral glosso-epiglottic folds passing forwards to the base of the tongue, and enclosing the two valleculæ.”
“Extending backwards and downwards from the lateral margins of the epiglottis are the two ary-epiglottic folds which reach the arytenoid cartilages posteriorly.”
“The epiglottis is the valve which closes over the upper opening of the larynx.”
“Then a flap of tissue called the epiglottis momentarily covers the air pathway and prevents water or food from entering.”
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