ton·​sil | \ ˈtän(t)-səl How to pronounce tonsil (audio) \

Definition of tonsil

1 : either of a pair of prominent masses of lymphoid tissue that lie one on each side of the throat between two folds of soft tissue that bound the fauces
2 : any of various masses of lymphoid tissue (such as the adenoids) that are similar to tonsils

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Other Words from tonsil

tonsillar \ ˈtän(t)-​s(ə-​)lər How to pronounce tonsil (audio) \ adjective

Examples of tonsil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One case of tonsil diphtheria and of case of laryngeal diphtheria were reported., "From the Files of The Farmer," 1 Dec. 2020 Displays cover everything from early medical instruments (forceps, tongue depressors and tonsillotomes, also called tonsil guillotines) to MRI coils. Washington Post, "Knock yourself out in the Ether Dome," 9 Oct. 2019 On Wednesday, Texas’ rules on elective procedures were loosened, and Gottlieb has started rescheduling sinus surgeries, tonsil removals and the insertion of ear tubes -- interventions generally aimed at stopping chronic infections. Mitchell Schnurman, Dallas News, "Amid a global pandemic, how do Dallas doctors get patients to want to come back?," 24 Apr. 2020 To make matters worse, Dominic is waiting for surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids. Cathy Kozlowicz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "More than 40 strangers and 10 firetrucks put on a surprise birthday parade for a 5-year-old Sussex boy," 15 Apr. 2020 Even today many of the most popular surgeries involve the wholesale removal of body parts—the appendix, gallbladder, tonsils, uterus (usually after the childbearing years)—with an assurance that patients will do just fine without them. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "Are All Our Organs Vital?," 1 Mar. 2019 He was scheduled for surgery to remove his tonsils in late February to help with his breathing issues. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Please don't kill me': Neighbors heard screams, called 911 on evening mother, children were last seen alive," 17 Feb. 2020 The fear clutches at the inside of my throat, pulling down my tonsils into my chest. Ellyn Laub,, "Beware bike attire hazards | Opinion," 21 Nov. 2019 Tonsillitis is, essentially, inflammation of the throat that affects your tonsils, the visible lumps of tissue on the left and right sides of the back of your throat, according to the US National Library of Medicine (USNLM). Korin Miller,, "Miley Cyrus Has Been Hospitalized With Tonsillitis—Here's What You Need to Know About the Infection," 9 Oct. 2019

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

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tonsil

Latin tonsillae, plural, tonsils

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Cite this Entry

“Tonsil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for tonsil



English Language Learners Definition of tonsil

: either one of the pair of round, soft parts on the inside of your throat


ton·​sil | \ ˈtän-səl How to pronounce tonsil (audio) \

Kids Definition of tonsil

: either of a pair of masses of spongy tissue at the back of the mouth


ton·​sil | \ ˈtän(t)-səl How to pronounce tonsil (audio) \

Medical Definition of tonsil

1a : either of a pair of prominent masses of lymphoid tissue that lie one on each side of the throat between the anterior and posterior pillars of the fauces and are composed of lymph follicles grouped around one or more deep crypts and except for the exposed surface which is covered only by epithelium are surrounded by diffuse lymphoid tissue in a fibrous capsule

called also palatine tonsil

2 : a rounded prominence situated medially on the lower surface of each lateral hemisphere of the cerebellum

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More from Merriam-Webster on tonsil

Nglish: Translation of tonsil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tonsil for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tonsil

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