tra·​chea | \ ˈtrā-kē-ə How to pronounce trachea (audio) \
plural tracheae\ ˈtrā-​kē-​ˌē How to pronounce tracheae (audio) , -​kē-​ˌī \ also tracheas or trachea

Definition of trachea

1 : the main trunk of the system of tubes by which air passes to and from the lungs in vertebrates
2 [ New Latin, from Medieval Latin ] : vessel sense 3b also : one of its constituent cellular elements
3 [ New Latin ] : one of the air-conveying tubules forming the respiratory system of most insects and many other arthropods

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Other Words from trachea

tracheal \ ˈtrā-​kē-​əl How to pronounce tracheal (audio) \ adjective

Examples of trachea in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The nail punctured the wall of the carpenter’s trachea. Edward Baig, USA TODAY, "Your doctor may be playing medical video games at work. That could be good for your health," 12 June 2019 Surgeons removed the tooth surgically by Fiberoptic Bronchoscopy, a procedure that involves inserting a flexible tube down the trachea. Christina Oehler,, "Can You Inhale Your Tooth While Sleeping? Here's How It Sent One Girl to the Hospital," 11 June 2019 The errant gunshot, fired into the crowd amid a fight between other teenagers, ruptured Sakran’s trachea, severed his carotid artery and paralyzed his vocal chord. Meagan Flynn, The Seattle Times, "Shot in the neck at 17, this is the trauma surgeon now leading doctors against gun violence and NRA," 14 Nov. 2018 Large dermoid cysts found in the neck, for instance, could put pressure on nearby structures in the throat, like the vocal cords or trachea, causing voice changes or trouble breathing or swallowing, according to Dr. Georgopoulos. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Did You Know Dermoid Cysts Can Have Hair, Skin, and TEETH?," 15 Jan. 2019 The unidentified officer was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition with stab wounds in her jugular and trachea, police said in an update on Facebook. Fox News, "Female cop in ICU after getting stabbed in the throat, suspect charged, police say," 2 Oct. 2018 The ammonia can cause irritation of the bronchial membranes in your lungs, and lead to lots of coughing, as well as severe injury to the tissues in your trachea and lungs. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "How Cat Poop Can Affect Your Health," 9 Aug. 2018 Replacing a failing windpipe, or trachea, with one partially made from a patient's own stem cells once looked like the cutting edge of regenerative medicine. Matt Warren, Science | AAAS, "Two controversial stem cell trials could harm patients, critics say," 29 Mar. 2018 These symptoms happen due to swelling that occurs around the larynx (the vocal cords), trachea (windpipe), and bronchi (bronchial tubes). Korin Miller, SELF, "HGTV's Tarek and Christina El Moussa's Son Was Hospitalized for Croup," 16 Oct. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for trachea

Middle English, from Medieval Latin, from Late Latin trachia, from Greek tracheia (artēria) rough (artery), from feminine of trachys rough

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Statistics for trachea

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for trachea

The first known use of trachea was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of trachea

medical : a long tube in your neck and chest that carries air into and out of your lungs


tra·​chea | \ ˈtrā-kē-ə How to pronounce trachea (audio) \
plural tracheae\ -​kē-​ˌē \

Kids Definition of trachea

1 : a stiff-walled tube of the respiratory system that connects the pharynx with the lungs
2 : a breathing tube of an insect that connects with the outside of the body and carries oxygen directly to the cells


tra·​chea | \ ˈtrā-kē-ə, British also trə-ˈkē-ə\
plural tracheae\ -​kē-​ˌē How to pronounce tracheae (audio) \ also tracheas

Medical Definition of trachea

: the main trunk of the system of tubes by which air passes to and from the lungs that is about four inches (10 centimeters) long and somewhat less than an inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter, extends down the front of the neck from the larynx, divides in two to form the bronchi, has walls of fibrous and muscular tissue stiffened by incomplete cartilaginous rings which keep it from collapsing, and is lined with mucous membrane whose epithelium is composed of columnar ciliated mucus-secreting cells

called also windpipe

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More from Merriam-Webster on trachea

Spanish Central: Translation of trachea

Nglish: Translation of trachea for Spanish Speakers

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

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