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  1. Anatomy. of or relating to the diaphragm.
  2. Physiology. relating to the mind or mental activity.

Origin of phrenic

From the New Latin word phrenicus, dating back to 1695–1705. See phren-, -ic
Related formspost·phren·ic, adjectivesub·phren·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for phrenic

Historical Examples

  • The vagus, the phrenic, and the spinal nerves may also be pressed upon.

    Manual of Surgery

    Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles

  • The symptoms are mainly those of peripheral neuritis with special implication of the phrenic and the pneumogastric nerves.

  • The phrenic arteries, two in number, pass to supply the under surface of the diaphragm.

  • Care must be taken not to injure the important nerves, particularly the accessory, the vagus, and the phrenic.

    Manual of Surgery

    Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles

  • Have you not stimulated my phrenic nerves, besides ruining my digestion with a galvanic current round my stomach?

British Dictionary definitions for phrenic


    1. of or relating to the diaphragm
    2. (as noun)the phrenic
  1. obsolete of or relating to the mind

Word Origin

C18: from New Latin phrenicus, from Greek phrēn mind, diaphragm
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for phrenic


"pertaining to the diaphragm," 1704, from Modern Latin phrenicus, from Greek phren "diaphragm, mind" (see phreno-) + -ic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

phrenic in Medicine

accessory phrenic nerve

  1. Any of the accessory nerve strands that arise from the fifth cervical nerve, often as branches of the nerve to the subclavius, and pass downward to join the phrenic nerve.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.