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 An Australian woman has gone viral on TikTok after waking up from tonsil surgery with an Irish accent—even though she's never been to the country. Korin Miller,, 12 May 2021 One case of tonsil diphtheria and of case of laryngeal diphtheria were reported., 1 Dec. 2020 Displays cover everything from early medical instruments (forceps, tongue depressors and tonsillotomes, also called tonsil guillotines) to MRI coils. Washington Post, 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, 24 Apr. 2020 To make matters worse, Dominic is waiting for surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids. Cathy Kozlowicz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 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, 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, 17 Feb. 2020 The fear clutches at the inside of my throat, pulling down my tonsils into my chest. Ellyn Laub,, 21 Nov. 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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Dictionary Entries Near tonsil

tonqua bean



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Cite this Entry

“Tonsil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 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

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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