Definition of cranial nerve
: any of the nerves that arise in pairs from the lower surface of the brain one on each side and pass through openings in the skull to the periphery of the body and that comprise 12 pairs in reptiles, birds, and mammals and usually 10 in fishes and amphibians
First Known Use of cranial nerve
Medical Definition of cranial nerve
: any of the 12 paired nerves that arise from the lower surface of the brain with one of each pair on each side and pass through openings in the skull to the periphery of the body—see abducens nerve, accessory nerve, auditory nerve, facial nerve, glossopharyngeal nerve, hypoglossal nerve, oculomotor nerve, olfactory nerve, optic nerve, trigeminal nerve, trochlear nerve, vagus nerve
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