larynx


larynx
/lar"ingks/, n., pl. larynges /leuh rin"jeez/, larynxes.
1. Anat. a muscular and cartilaginous structure lined with mucous membrane at the upper part of the trachea in humans, in which the vocal cords are located.
2. Zool.
a. a similar vocal organ in other mammals.
b. a corresponding structure in certain lower animals.
[1570-80; < NL < Gk lárynx]

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Hollow, tubular structure connecting the pharynx with the trachea, through which air passes on the way to the lungs.

The larynx consists of a framework of cartilage plates, with a ridge in front (Adam's apple); the epiglottis, a flaplike projection up into the throat that covers the airway during swallowing to keep food and liquid from entering; and the vocal cords, whose vibration produces the sound of the voice (see speech).

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also called  voice box 

      a hollow, tubular structure connected to the top of the windpipe (trachea); air passes through the larynx on its way to the lungs. The larynx also produces vocal sounds and prevents the passage of food and other foreign particles into the lower respiratory tracts.

      The larynx is composed of an external skeleton of cartilage plates that prevents collapse of the structure. The plates are fastened together by membranes and muscle fibres. The front set of plates, called thyroid cartilage, has a central ridge and elevation commonly known as the Adam's apple. The plates tend to be replaced by bone cells beginning from about 20 years of age onward.

      The epiglottis, at the upper part of the larynx, is a flaplike projection into the throat. As food is swallowed (swallowing), the whole larynx structure rises to the epiglottis so that the passageway to the respiratory tract is blocked. After the food passes into the esophagus (food tube), the larynx relaxes and resumes its natural position.

      The centre portion of the larynx is reduced to slitlike openings in two sites. Both sites represent large folds in the mucous membrane lining the larynx. The first pair is known as the false vocal cords (vocal cord), while the second is the true vocal cords (glottis). Muscles attached directly and indirectly to the vocal cords permit the opening and closing of the folds. speech is normally produced when air expelled from the lungs moves up the trachea and strikes the underside of the vocal cords, setting up vibrations as it passes through them; raw sound emerges from the larynx and passes to the upper cavities, which act as resonating chambers (or in some languages, such as Arabic, as shapers of sound), and then passes through the mouth for articulation by the tongue, teeth, hard and soft palates, and lips. If the larynx is removed, the esophagus (pseudolaryngeal speech) can function as the source for sound, but the control of pitch and volume is lacking.

      In other forms of animal life, sounds can be produced by the glottis, but in most, the ability to form words is lacking. Reptiles can produce a hissing sound by rushing air through the glottis, which is at the back of the mouth. Frogs produce their croaking sounds by passing air back and forth over the vocal folds; a pair of vocal sacs near the mouth serve as resonating chambers. In birds the larynx (syrinx) is a small structure in front of the trachea; it serves only to guard the air passage.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • larynx — [ larɛ̃ks ] n. m. • fin XVIe; laringue 1532; gr. larugx, laruggos « gosier » ♦ Organe creux situé à l extrémité supérieure de la trachée, qui se compose de cinq cartilages reliés entre eux et qui constitue, par son rôle de vibrateur, l organe… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • larynx — lar ynx (l[a^]r [i^][ng]ks; 277), n. [NL. from Gr. la rygx, la ryggos.] (Anat.) The expanded upper end of the windpipe or trachea, connected with the hyoid bone or cartilage. It contains the vocal cords, which produce the voice by their… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • larynx — 1570s, from M.Fr. larynx (16c.), from Modern Latin, from Gk. larynx (gen. laryngos) the upper windpipe, probably from laimos throat, influenced by pharynx throat, windpipe …   Etymology dictionary

  • Larynx — (gr.), Kehlkopf; daher Larynxbänder, Larynxknorpel, Larynxmuskel, so v.w. Kehlkopfbänder etc., s.u. Kehlkopf B) u. C). Laryngēus, was sich auf den Luftröhrenknopf (Larynx) bezieht, wie: Laryngeae arteriae. L glandulae, Laryngel nervi etc.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Larynx — (griech.), der Kehlkopf …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Larynx — (grch.), Kehlkopf …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Larynx — Larynx, griech., Kehlkopf; Laryngitis. Luftröhrenentzündung; Laryngophthisis. Phthisis larynchalis. Luftröhrenschwindsucht …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Larynx — Larynx, Kehlkopf, am Eingang der ⇒ Trachea liegendes Stimmorgan der luftatmenden Wirbeltiere. Durch den Kehldeckel (Epiglottis) kann der L. gegen den ⇒ Pharynx verschlossen werden. Am L.skelett sind mehrere durch Bänder miteinander verbundene… …   Deutsch wörterbuch der biologie

  • larynx — ► NOUN (pl. larynges) ▪ the hollow muscular organ forming an air passage to the lungs and containing the vocal cords. ORIGIN Greek larunx …   English terms dictionary

  • larynx — [lar′iŋks] n. pl. larynxes or larynges [lə rin′jēz΄] [ModL < Gr] 1. the structure of muscle and cartilage at the upper end of the human trachea, containing the vocal cords and serving as the organ of voice: see LUNG, PHARYNX 2. a similar… …   English World dictionary

  • Larynx — For the remotely piloted vehicle, see Larynx (unmanned aircraft). Larynx Anatomy of the larynx, anterolateral view …   Wikipedia


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