• synonyms


noun, plural ep·i·glot·tis·es, ep·i·glot·ti·des [ep-i-glot-i-deez] /ˌɛp ɪˈglɒt ɪˌdiz/. Anatomy.
  1. a thin, valvelike, cartilaginous structure that covers the glottis during swallowing, preventing the entrance of food and drink into the larynx.
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Origin of epiglottis

1605–15; < Greek epiglōttís; see epi-, glottis
Related formsep·i·glot·tal, ep·i·glot·tic, ep·i·glot·tid·e·an [ep-i-glo-tid-ee-uh n] /ˌɛp ɪ glɒˈtɪd i ən/, adjectivesub·ep·i·glot·tal, adjectivesub·ep·i·glot·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for epiglottis

Historical Examples of epiglottis

  • Mammy, the trouble is in your thorax, larynx and epiglottis.

    The Girls of Central High on Track and Field

    David Goodger (goodger@python.org)

  • They are more covered by the epiglottis than in the other case—that of a female (Fig. 41).

  • The epiglottis may, also, naturally so overhang the glottis that a good view of the vocal cords is impossible.

  • The internal surface of the glottis and epiglottis was in a similar but less marked state as the larynx and trachea.

  • To the cartilages of the larynx must be further added the Epiglottis, with the little cartilage at the centre of its inner side.

British Dictionary definitions for epiglottis


noun plural -tises or -tides (-tɪˌdiːz)
  1. a thin cartilaginous flap that covers the entrance to the larynx during swallowing, preventing food from entering the trachea
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Derived Formsepiglottal or epiglottic, 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

Word Origin and History for epiglottis


1520s, from Late Latin epiglottis, from Greek epiglottis, literally "(that which is) upon the tongue," from epi "on" (see epi-) + glottis, from glotta, variant of glossa "tongue" (see gloss (n.2)). An earlier form was epiglote (c.1400), from Old French epiglotte. Related: Epiglottic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

epiglottis in Medicine


n. pl. ep•i•glot•tis•es
  1. The thin elastic cartilaginous structure located at the root of the tongue that folds over the glottis to prevent food and liquid from entering the trachea during the act of swallowing.
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Related formsep′i•glottic adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

epiglottis in Science


  1. A thin, triangular plate of cartilage at the base of the tongue that covers the glottis during swallowing to keep food from entering the trachea.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.