vocal cords

plural noun

Definition of vocal cords 

: either of two pairs of folds of mucous membranes that project into the cavity of the larynx and have free edges extending dorsoventrally toward the middle line

Examples of vocal cords in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Coaches operate on a granular level that exists entirely between the first ticks of the game clock and the final vibrations of the fat lady’s vocal cords. David Murphy, Philly.com, "How LeBron James' decision may change Sixers' Star Hunt approach | David Murphy," 2 July 2018 Yes, Oprah Winfrey’s vocal cords are that powerful. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale Needed Oprah As Much As We Do," 27 June 2018 Stewart had groomed them, from sounding like angelic boys to confident young men, one vocal cord at a time. Courtland Milloy, Washington Post, "A love of music led one woman to a lifetime of teaching, and a lifeline for some boys at risk," 26 June 2018 The Championship Tour, which on past stops has featured fellow TDE artist SZA (the singer unfortunately missed Camden due to a vocal cord issue), is cleverly athletic-themed. Drew Lazor, Philly.com, "Kendrick Lamar looms large at his show at BB&T Pavilion," 9 June 2018 At least, not compared to the vocal cord vibrations of mammals or serenades of songbirds. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Five Ways Real Science Would Make the New Jurassic World So Much Better," 12 June 2018 Mark your calendars, Philly — and start massaging those vocal cords — because the American Idol Bus is coming to our city on Sept. 6. Claire Wolters, Philly.com, "'American Idol' auditions set for Sept. 6 in Philly," 7 June 2018 Death occurs because the vocal cords do not relax, preventing air from entering the lungs. Salil Pradhan, Md, USA TODAY, "Ask a Doc: What's the difference between dry drowning and secondary drowning?," 1 June 2018 Once a dog's vocal cords have been removed its bark is said to sound more like a hoarse cough. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Breeder 'debarked' dogs by shoving a pipe down their throats, Penn. authorities say," 30 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vocal cords.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of vocal cords

1852, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vocal cords

Share vocal cords

Statistics for vocal cords

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vocal cords

The first known use of vocal cords was in 1852

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vocal cords

vocal cords


English Language Learners Definition of vocal cords

: the thin pieces of folded tissue in your throat that help you to make sounds with your voice

vocal cords

noun plural

Kids Definition of vocal cords

: a pair of folds of tissue that extend across the inside of the larynx and that produce the voice when air exhaled from the lungs causes them to tighten and vibrate

More from Merriam-Webster on vocal cords

Spanish Central: Translation of vocal cords

Nglish: Translation of vocal cords for Spanish Speakers

Comments on vocal cords

What made you want to look up vocal cords? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!