phren·​ic ˈfre-nik How to pronounce phrenic (audio)
: of or relating to the diaphragm
: of or relating to the mind

Examples of phrenic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Cancer may also be found in the bronchus, pleura, diaphragm, chest wall, breastbone, backbone, phrenic nerve, pericardium, vena cava, aorta, pharynx, trachea, esophagus, and/or carina (the area where the trachea branches into the bronchi). Lynne Eldridge, Verywell Health, 15 Aug. 2023 Stellate or phrenic nerve blocks: These injections use medications that numb the target nerve. Jessica Migala, Health, 6 Aug. 2023 There are few concrete medical cures for the hiccups, but experts know that stopping them ideally involves the diaphragm, the vagus nerve and the phrenic nerve. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 4 Mar. 2022 In general, things that irritate the diaphragm or the nerves that connect to the diaphragm (called the phrenic and vagus nerves), can lead to hiccups. Jessica Migala,, 16 Nov. 2021 The phrenic nerve controls the diaphragm, while the vagus nerve helps control the lungs and other internal organs. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 30 June 2021 All of that effort distracts the nerves that are responsible for the diaphragm and epiglottis, called the phrenic and vagus nerves. Theresa MacHemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 June 2021 For severe cases, your doctor might even try injecting an anesthetic to influence how your phrenic nerve behaves. Claire Gillespie, SELF, 4 May 2018 Those include drugs that target serotonin receptors and a device that electrically stimulates the phrenic nerve to force diaphragm movement and maintain breathing. Max Blau, STAT, 10 Apr. 2018 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from new Latin phrenicus, from Late Latin phren-, phrēn "midriff, diaphragm, mind" (usually in plural phrenes) (borrowed from Greek phren-, phrḗn) + Latin -icus -ic entry 1 — more at frenetic

First Known Use

1685, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of phrenic was in 1685

Dictionary Entries Near phrenic

Cite this Entry

“Phrenic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
phren·​ic ˈfren-ik How to pronounce phrenic (audio)
: of or relating to the diaphragm


2 of 2 noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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