na·​so·​phar·​ynx | \ ˌnā-zō-ˈfer-iŋ(k)s How to pronounce nasopharynx (audio) , -ˈfa-riŋ(k)s \

Definition of nasopharynx

: the upper part of the pharynx continuous with the nasal passages

Examples of nasopharynx in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The swab is in the nasopharynx for only a few seconds but can be very uncomfortable to patients. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, "Fact check: No, the COVID-19 nasal test doesn't swab the blood-brain barrier," 9 July 2020 Accuracy Questions Raised The gold standard for confirming an active COVID-19 infection is to take a swab sample from the nasopharynx and test it for the presence of viral RNA. Time, "Antibody Tests Were Hailed as a Way to End Lockdowns. They're Causing Confusion Instead," 27 May 2020 Made of plastic shafts and synthetic fibers, the highly specialized swabs are inserted through the nose and pushed back to the nasopharynx, or the upper part of the throat, and rotated for 15 seconds to collect viral specimens. Aidin Vaziri,, "Swab shortage holds up coronavirus testing in California," 24 Apr. 2020 To conduct the test, researchers first send a long, thin swab deep into the nose to collect fluid and cells from the nasopharynx, a cavity that sits just above the throat. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Breaking Down the Two Tests That Could Help Contain the COVID-19 Pandemic," 7 Apr. 2020 The swab enters the nose and is then pushed to the back of your throat, just above the nasopharynx. Jennifer Borresen, USA Today, "What to expect if you are being tested for the coronavirus," 1 Apr. 2020 The swabs go through the nose to the back of the throat to collect a viral sample from a person’s nasopharynx that is then sent to a lab for testing. Agam Shah, WSJ, "With Medical Equipment in Short Supply, 3-D Printing Steps Up in Coronavirus Crisis," 31 Mar. 2020 The swabs have to be long and skinny enough to get to the nasopharynx, the upper part of the throat, behind the nose. Lauren Weber And Christina Jewett, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus test swabs aren't your standard Q-tips, and they're running out as testing ramps up," 18 Mar. 2020 The nasopharynx is the upper part of the throat that lies behind the nose, just above the soft part of the roof of the mouth and just behind the nasal passages, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Dennis Thompson,, "Blood test can screen for rare sinus cancer," 10 Aug. 2017

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

1877, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nasopharynx

New Latin

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Time Traveler for nasopharynx

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The first known use of nasopharynx was in 1877

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Last Updated

21 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nasopharynx.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for nasopharynx


na·​so·​phar·​ynx | \ -ˈfar-iŋ(k)s How to pronounce nasopharynx (audio) \
plural nasopharynges\ -​fə-​ˈrin-​(ˌ)jēz How to pronounce nasopharynges (audio) \ also nasopharynxes

Medical Definition of nasopharynx

: the upper part of the pharynx continuous with the nasal passages — compare laryngopharynx

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