mucous membrane


: a membrane rich in mucous glands
specifically : one that lines body cavities and passages (as of the gastrointestinal or respiratory tract) which communicate directly or indirectly with the outside of the body : mucosa
Pruritus and congestion involving mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth are frequently observed, and swelling of the lips or tongue may impair swallowing and ventilation. Bruce S. Bochner et al.

Examples of mucous membrane in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The innate immune response is the general way the skin, mucous membranes, immune system cells and proteins fights germs. Jen Christensen, CNN, 14 Feb. 2024 So might anatomical responses to those changes, such as the effect of colder or drier air on mucous membranes and the epithelium of the respiratory tract. WIRED, 2 Oct. 2023 Basically, congestion is the swelling of the mucous membranes that line the nose. Marla Broadfoot, Scientific American, 1 Dec. 2023 These medications act on adrenergic receptors on the blood vessels that line the nose’s mucous membranes. Marla Broadfoot, Scientific American, 1 Dec. 2023 This dry environment can impact the mucous membranes in our mouths and noses, reducing our ability to taste and smell. Olivia Morelli, Condé Nast Traveler, 13 Nov. 2023 In addition to its fundamental roles in reproductive health and menstrual cycle regulation, estrogen also affects the female urinary tract, reproductive tract, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles and the brain, per Johns Hopkins Medicine. Daryl Austin, USA TODAY, 4 Sep. 2023 Its slimy texture aids in soothing the mucous membranes in the digestive tract, potentially easing digestive discomfort, and promoting gut health. Jake Parks, Discover Magazine, 23 Oct. 2023 Jaundice presents as a yellowing of the skin, eyes, gums, and other mucous membranes due to an accumulation of bilirubin. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 31 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mucous membrane.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1771, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mucous membrane was circa 1771

Dictionary Entries Near mucous membrane

Cite this Entry

“Mucous membrane.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

mucous membrane

: a membrane rich in mucous glands
especially : one lining body passages and cavities (as of the nose or lungs) which connect directly or indirectly with the outside

Medical Definition

mucous membrane

: a moist membranous layer rich in mucous glands that lines body passages and cavities (as of the digestive, respiratory, and genitourinary tracts) which connect directly or indirectly with the exterior, that functions in protection, support, nutrient absorption, and secretion of mucus, enzymes, and salts, and that is composed of epithelium supported below by the lamina propria and sometimes by the muscularis mucosae

called also mucosa

compare serous membrane

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