Middle English, from Medieval Latin, from Late Latin trachia, from Greek tracheia (artēria) rough (artery), from feminine of trachys rough
First Known Use: 14th century
noun\ˈtrā-kē-ə, British also trə-ˈkē-ə\(Medical Dictionary)
Medical Definition of TRACHEA
: the main trunk of the system of tubes by which air passes to and from the lungs that is about four inches (10 centimeters) long and somewhat less than an inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter, extends down the front of the neck from the larynx, divides in two to form the bronchi, has walls of fibrous and muscular tissue stiffened by incomplete cartilaginous rings which keep it from collapsing, and is lined with mucous membrane whose epithelium is composed of columnar ciliated mucus-secreting cells—called also windpipe
Illustration of TRACHEA
Tube in the throat and upper thoracic cavity through which air passes in respiration. It begins at the larynx and splits just above heart level into the two main bronchi, which enter the lungs. In adults it is about 6 in. (15 cm) long and 1 in. (2.5 cm) in diameter. Its structurea membrane strengthened by 16–20 cartilage rings open in the back, with their free ends connected by muscle bandsallows the trachea to stretch and contract in breathing. An inner mucous membrane has cilia (seecilium) that project inward to trap particles. Muscle fibres over and alongside the trachea contract in response to cold air or irritants in inhaled air; in coughing, the airway narrows to about one-sixth of its normal size to increase the speed and force of exhalation and to dislodge foreign bodies. Such diseases as diphtheria, syphilis, tuberculosis, and typhoid often involve the trachea.