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Definition of MIDDLE EAR
: a small membrane-lined cavity that is separated from the outer ear by the tympanic membrane and that transmits sound waves from the tympanic membrane to the partition between the middle and inner ears through a chain of tiny bones
: the intermediate portion of the ear of higher vertebrates consisting typically of a small air-filled membrane-lined chamber in the temporal bone continuous with the nasopharynx through the eustachian tube, separated from the external ear by the tympanic membrane and from the inner ear by fenestrae, and containing a chain of three ossicles that extends from the tympanic membrane to the oval window and transmits vibrations to the inner ear—called also tympanic cavity; see incus, malleus, stapes