Word of the Day : April 12, 2012


noun TRAY-gus


: the prominence in front of the external opening of the outer ear

Did You Know?

The tragus is the tongue-like projection of the outer ear. Its name comes from the Greek word "tragos," meaning "he-goat." According to hearsay, the Greek word was influenced by Peloponnesian tragedy. In this style of drama, satyrs were represented as goatlike creatures, and their prominent ears became associated with a feature of our own human ears. "Tragos" contributed to the English language in another way as well; it is also the word from which "tragedy" is derived.


"The tragus, she explains, is the tough fold of cartilage that sticks out from the ear at the entrance to the ear canal." - From an article in the Irish Independent, December 5, 2011

"Siobhan … got her nose pierced as soon as she got to the State University of New York campus in Buffalo last September, and on Halloween pierced her tragus, the cartilage at the front of her ear." - From an article by Nancy Hass in The New York Times, November 6, 2005

Test Your Vocabulary

What word begins with "h," refers to the rim of the ear, and can also mean "spiral"? The answer is ...


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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