cranial nerve

noun

: 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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The longest cranial nerve in the body, the vagus nerve, sends information from the gut to the brain using neurotransmitters (like serotonin and dopamine), the body’s chemical messengers that help regulate sleep, mood, pain, stress and hunger. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, 13 Sep. 2022 This 10th cranial nerve is the longest and most complex nerve in the body. Justin Ross, Outside Online, 13 May 2020 The researchers would be surgically implanting a neurostimulator to their vagus nerve, the cranial nerve that runs along the groove in the front of the neck and is responsible for transmitting signals from the brain to other parts of the body. Brandy Schillace, Wired, 12 Sep. 2021 The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body. Womensmedia, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2021 That receptor then sends a signal through the cranial nerves to the medulla oblongata, which is part of your brainstem, and through to your primary gustatory complex, which interprets individual signals as flavors. Popular Science, 21 Jan. 2020 That created for him physical disabilities—cranial nerves were messed with. The New Yorker, 20 Oct. 2019 Following several instances of dizziness and unusual weakness, Kelly received a diagnosis: acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma, a tumor sitting on her cranial nerves. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, 15 Oct. 2019 Hearing, vision, cranial nerves and facial muscles are also examined. Mary Anne Chute Lynch, courant.com, 12 Oct. 2019 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1840, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cranial nerve was in 1840

Dictionary Entries Near cranial nerve

Cite this Entry

“Cranial nerve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cranial%20nerve. Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

cranial nerve

noun

: any of the paired nerves that arise from the lower surface of the brain and pass through openings in the skull

Medical Definition

cranial nerve

noun

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on cranial nerve

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