epiglottis

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ep·i·glot·tis / ˌepiˈglätəs/ • n. a flap of cartilage at the root of the tongue, which is depressed during swallowing to cover the opening of the windpipe. DERIVATIVES: ep·i·glot·tal / -ˈglätl/ adj. ep·i·glot·tic / -ˈglätik/ adj.

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epiglottis A leaf-shaped piece of cartilage covered by mucous membrane, sited vertically against the back of the root of the tongue and in front of the glottis — the opening into the larynx. The upper part of the epiglottis is free to bend back and down; also the arrangement of nearby folds of tissue and bands of muscle allows the rim of the glottis to be drawn against a thickening on the back surface of the epiglottis. These mechanisms provide for closure of the glottis during swallowing, preventing food and drink from entering the larynx and trachea (windpipe) and directing it further back into the opening of the oesophagus (gullet).

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See swallowing; alimentary system.
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epiglottis A flexible flap of cartilage in mammals that is attached to the wall of the pharynx near the base of the tongue. During swallowing (see deglutition) it covers the glottis (the opening to the respiratory tract) and helps to prevent food from entering the trachea (windpipe), although it is not essential for this purpose.

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epiglottis In mammals, a flap of cartilage and mucous membrane on the ventral wall of the larynx, at the base of the tongue. During swallowing the entrance to the trachea is pushed against it and so closed.

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epiglottis Small flap of cartilage projecting upwards behind the root of the tongue. It closes off the larynx during swallowing to prevent food entering the airway.

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epiglottis (epi-glot-iss) n. a thin leaf-shaped flap of cartilage, covered with mucous membrane, that is situated immediately behind the root of the tongue. It covers the entrance to the larynx during swallowing.

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epiglottis (ĕp´əglŏt´Ĭs): see larynx.