epi·​glot·​tis | \ ˌe-pə-ˈglä-təs How to pronounce epiglottis (audio) \

Definition of epiglottis

: a thin plate of flexible cartilage in front of the glottis that folds back over and protects the glottis during swallowing

Examples of epiglottis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The girl was taken to University Medical Center, where she was hospitalized for four days with injuries and burns to her epiglottis, throat, tongue, lips and surrounding areas, according to the complaint. NBC News, "Girl's mouth allegedly set on fire by a dentist in what experts call a 'freak accident'," 9 Jan. 2020 For doctors like us, this means initiating a conversation about the value that each patient places on eating before evaluating how food passes over the epiglottis. Douglas Jacobs, Washington Post, "Problems swallowing are a big killer, but the treatment can be horrible," 7 Mar. 2018 All that protects us from aspirating is a thin, cartilaginous flap of tissue called the epiglottis. Douglas Jacobs, Washington Post, "Problems swallowing are a big killer, but the treatment can be horrible," 7 Mar. 2018 Hemophilus influenza type B commonly causes deafness, permanent brain damage, epiglottis, severe eye infections and death. Philly.com, "Can I protect my child against meningitis?," 26 July 2017 Sometimes the tongue propels saliva backward before the epiglottis has time to cover the airway. Sara Manning Peskin, M.d., New York Times, "The Symptoms of Dying," 20 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epiglottis.' 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 epiglottis

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for epiglottis

New Latin, from Greek epiglōttis, from epi- + glōttis glottis

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Time Traveler for epiglottis

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The first known use of epiglottis was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Epiglottis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epiglottis. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for epiglottis


epi·​glot·​tis | \ ˌep-ə-ˈglät-əs How to pronounce epiglottis (audio) \

Medical Definition of epiglottis

: a thin lamella of yellow elastic cartilage that ordinarily projects upward behind the tongue and just in front of the glottis and that with the arytenoid cartilages serves to cover the glottis during the act of swallowing

More from Merriam-Webster on epiglottis

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with epiglottis

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about epiglottis

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