American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Either of two pairs of bands or folds of mucous membrane in the throat that project into the larynx. The lower pair vibrate when pulled together and when air is passed up from the lungs, thereby producing vocal sounds. The upper, thicker pair are not involved in voice production. Also called vocal folds.
- n. Two folds of tissue located in the larynx that vibrate when air passes over them, producing the sound waves associated with talking and singing.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. (Anat.) The two pairs of mucous membranes that project into the larynx, and which produce the sounds of speech by vibrating under the influence of air exhaled from the lungs. See Larynx, and the Note under Voice, n., 1.
“The procedure is not without risk: The physicist Stephen Hawking lost his speech when the nerves that control the vocal cords were damaged during an emergency tracheotomy.”
“Mrs Rogers’s voice was as hard and as scornful as her old vocal cords could make it, and I saw the young constable go white and drop his pencil, while my hand scribbled automatically on.”
“Alobar held back, refusing to speak until his vocal cords could be trusted not to quiver.”
“His mouth changes shape, his vocal cords open up, he abandons self-irony in favour of dominance.”
“One of the cases had started a weird minor moan that hacked on and off as his lungs and vocal cords went in and out of synchronization, but it quieted under the drug, and in a matter of minutes the three lay still, breathing with the shallow flaccidity common to curare treatment.”
“Pelopidas struggled to his knees and tried to call out for help, but pain seared through his severed vocal cords and blood gouted between his fingers.”
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