[ kok-lee-uh, koh-klee-uh ]
See synonyms for: cochleacochlear on

noun,plural coch·le·ae [kok-lee-ee, -lee-ahy, koh-klee-ee, ‐klee-ahy], /ˈkɒk liˌi, -liˌaɪ, ˈkoʊ kliˌi, ‐kliˌaɪ/, coch·le·as.Anatomy.
  1. a spiral-shaped cavity forming a division of the internal ear in humans and in most other mammals.

Origin of cochlea

1530–40; <Latin <Greek kochlíās snail (with spiral shell), screw, probably akin to kónchēconch

Other words from cochlea

  • coch·le·ar, adjective

Words Nearby cochlea Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use cochlea in a sentence

  • A dull bookworm like me,—cochlea vitam agens, Mr. Squills,—leading the life of a snail!

    The Caxtons, Complete | Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • To destroy the cochlear nerve, the whole of the cochlea should be removed.

  • At the most, they knew the use of the spoon or cochlea, which they employed in eating eggs.

    The Wonders of Pompeii | Marc Monnier
  • That part of the ear which receives sound waves is known as the cochlea, or snail shell, because of its shape.

    A Civic Biology | George William Hunter

British Dictionary definitions for cochlea


/ (ˈkɒklɪə) /

nounplural -leae (-lɪˌiː)
  1. the spiral tube, shaped like a snail's shell, that forms part of the internal ear, converting sound vibrations into nerve impulses

Origin of cochlea

C16: from Latin: snail, spiral, from Greek kokhlias; probably related to Greek konkhē conch

Derived forms of cochlea

  • cochlear, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for cochlea


[ kŏklē-ə ]

Plural cochleae (kŏklē-ē′, -lē-ī′) cochleas
  1. A spiral-shaped cavity of the inner ear and the main organ of hearing. The cochlea contains the nerve endings that transmit sound vibrations from the middle ear to the auditory nerve.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.