al·​ve·​o·​lar | \ al-ˈvē-(ə-)lər How to pronounce alveolar (audio) \

Definition of alveolar

1 : of, relating to, resembling, or having alveoli especially : of, relating to, or constituting the part of the jaws where the teeth arise, the air-containing compartments of the lungs, or glands with secretory cells about a central space
2 phonetics : articulated with the tip of the tongue touching or near the ridge of bone behind the teeth in the upper jaw \d\, \n\, and \t\ are alveolar consonants.

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Other Words from alveolar

alveolarly adverb

Examples of alveolar in a Sentence

The word “two” begins with an alveolar sound.
Recent Examples on the Web Here’s how an infection can begin: SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, targets ACE-2 proteins that line the surface of many important human cells, including type II alveolar cells in the lungs. National Geographic, "invasion and response," 14 Oct. 2020 For example, immune cells called alveolar macrophages in the lung suppress inflammation once the threat posed by the pathogen diminishes. Popular Science, "What makes a patient asymptomatic to COVID-19?," 27 Aug. 2020 In other words, the skulls were left long enough for the alveolar process—the part that holds the teeth in place—to start breaking down. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Paleolithic French didn’t let their dead rest peacefully," 15 June 2020 GGOs in chest CT scans can also indicate congestive heart failure, inflammatory interstitial lung diseases, and diffuse alveolar hemorrhage (bleeding into the airspaces of the lungs), among other issues. Leah Groth,, "What Do 'Ground Glass Opacities' Mean in Lung Scans of COVID-19 Patients?," 16 Apr. 2020 When pneumonia occurs, the thin layer of alveolar cells is damaged by the virus. USA Today, "What does the coronavirus do to your body? Everything to know about the infection process," 14 Mar. 2020 Doctors told the family Chloe had alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that forms in the soft tissue of skeletal muscle, or in organs such as the bladder or uterus. Jason Duaine Hahn,, "Girl, 14, Beats Aggressive Stage 4 Cancer Just Before Christmas After 18-Month Battle," 18 Dec. 2019 Garrett of Van Meter, a city of about a thousand people 20 miles west of Des Moines, was first diagnosed with alveolar fusion negative rhabdomyosarcoma in September. Makayla Tendall, ajc, "'See ya later, suckas!': Family writes unique obituary for 5-year-old cancer victim," 13 July 2018 That led to their introduction in 1965 of a concept, called the minimum alveolar concentration, or MAC, that quickly became the standard measure of potency for anesthetic gases. Denise Grady, New York Times, "Dr. Edmond Eger II, 86, Dies; Found Way to Make Anesthesia Safer," 20 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alveolar.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alveolar

1750, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for alveolar

Time Traveler

The first known use of alveolar was in 1750

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Cite this Entry

“Alveolar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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English Language Learners Definition of alveolar

technical : of or relating to a speech sound that is made with the tip of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth near the front teeth


al·​ve·​o·​lar | \ al-ˈvē-ə-lər How to pronounce alveolar (audio) \

Medical Definition of alveolar

1 : of, relating to, resembling, or having alveoli
2 : of, relating to, or constituting the part of the jaws where the teeth arise, the air-containing cells of the lungs, or glands with secretory cells about a central space

More from Merriam-Webster on alveolar

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alveolar

Britannica English: Translation of alveolar for Arabic Speakers

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