pharynx


pharynx
/far"ingks/, n., pl. pharynges /feuh rin"jeez/, pharynxes. Anat.
the tube or cavity, with its surrounding membrane and muscles, that connects the mouth and nasal passages with the esophagus. See diag. under mouth.
[1685-95; < NL < Gk phárynx throat, akin to pháranx gulf, chasm]

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Inside of the throat, from the oral and nasal cavities (see mouth, nose) to the trachea and esophagus.

It has three connected sections: the nasopharynx, at the back of the nasal cavity; the oropharynx, in the back of the oral cavity down to the epiglottis (a flap of tissue that closes off the larynx during swallowing); and the laryngopharynx, from the epiglottis to the esophagus. The oropharynx contains the palatine tonsils. The eustachian tubes connect the middle ears to the pharynx, allowing air pressure on the eardrum to be equalized. Disorders include pharyngitis, tonsillitis, and cancer.

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Greek“throat”
 cone-shaped passageway leading from the oral and nasal cavities in the head to the esophagus and larynx. The pharynx chamber serves both respiratory and digestive functions. Thick fibres of muscle and connective tissue attach the pharynx to the base of the skull and surrounding structures. Both circular and longitudinal muscles occur in the walls of this organ; the circular muscles form constrictions that help push food to the esophagus and prevent air from being swallowed, while the longitudinal fibres lift the walls of the pharynx during swallowing.

      The pharynx consists of three main divisions. The anterior portion is the nasal pharynx, the back section of the nasal cavity. The nasal pharynx connects to the second region, the oral pharynx, by means of a passage called an isthmus. The oral pharynx begins at the back of the mouth cavity and continues down the throat to the epiglottis, a flap of tissue that covers the air passage to the lungs and that channels food to the esophagus. Triangular-shaped recesses in the walls of this region house the palatine tonsils (see tonsils), two masses of lymphatic tissue prone to infection. The isthmus connecting the oral and nasal regions is extremely beneficial in humans. It allows them to breathe through either the nose or the mouth and, when medically necessary, allows food to be passed to the esophagus by nasal tubes. The third region is the laryngeal pharynx, which begins at the epiglottis and leads down to the esophagus. Its function is to regulate the passage of air to the lungs and food to the esophagus.

      Two small tubes (eustachian tubes) connect the middle ears to the pharynx and allow air pressure on the eardrum to be equalized. Head colds sometimes inflame these tubes, causing earaches and hearing difficulties. Other medical afflictions associated with the pharynx include tonsillitis, cancer, and various types of throat paralyses caused by polio, diphtheria, rabies, or nervous-system injuries. See also swallowing. (swallowing)

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • pharynx — [ farɛ̃ks ] n. m. • 1538; faringa fin XVe; gr. pharugx, pharuggos « gorge » ♦ Conduit musculo membraneux qui constitue un carrefour des voies digestives et respiratoires, entre la bouche et l œsophage d une part, les fosses nasales et le larynx d …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Pharynx — Phar ynx, n.; pl. {pharynges}. [NL., fr. Gr. ?, ?: cf. F. pharynx.] (Anat.) The part of the alimentary canal between the cavity of the mouth and the esophagus. It has one or two external openings through the nose in the higher vertebrates, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pharynx — 1690s, from Gk. pharynx (gen. pharyngos) windpipe, throat, related to pharanx cleft, chasm …   Etymology dictionary

  • pharynx — [far′iŋks] n. pl. pharynges [fə rin′jēz΄] or pharynxes [ModL < Gr pharynx (gen. pharyngos), throat < IE * bhorg , throat, gullet > L frumen] the muscular and membranous cavity of the alimentary canal leading from the mouth and nasal… …   English World dictionary

  • Pharynx — (gr.), der Schlundkopf; daher Pharingēus, auf den Schlundkopf sich beziehend. Pharyngītis, Entzündung des Schlundkopfs. Pharyngokēle, Schlundkopfvorfall. Pharyngopalatinus musculus, Gaumenrachenmuskel. Pharyngoparalysis, Schlundkopflähmung.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Pharynx — (griech.), der Schlundkopf (s. d.) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Pharynx — Pharynx, griech., der Schlund; Pharyngitis, Entzündung des Schlundkopfs …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Pharynx — Pharynx, Schlund, bei vielen Wirbellosen muskulöser vorderster Abschnitt des Verdauungstrakts; bei Wirbeltieren aus dem ⇒ Kiemendarm hervorgehendes Verbindungsstück zwischen Mundhöhle und Oesophagus sowie zwischen Nasenhöhle und Kehlkopf …   Deutsch wörterbuch der biologie

  • pharynx — ► NOUN (pl. pharynges) ▪ the membrane lined cavity behind the nose and mouth, connecting them to the oesophagus. ORIGIN Greek pharunx …   English terms dictionary

  • Pharynx — Système respiratoire humain Le pharynx est un carrefour aéro digestif entre les voies aériennes (de la cavité nasale au larynx) et les voies digestives (de la cavité buccale ou bouche à l œsophage). On rencontre également à son niveau l ouverture …   Wikipédia en Français


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