Definition of cranial nerve in US English:

cranial nerve


  • Each of twelve pairs of nerves which arise directly from the brain, not from the spinal cord, and pass through separate apertures in the skull.

    They are (with conventional roman numbering) the olfactory (I), optic (II), oculomotor (III), trochlear (IV), trigeminal (V), abducens (VI), facial (VII), vestibulocochlear (VIII), glossopharyngeal (IX), vagus (X), accessory (XI), and hypoglossal (XII) nerves

    • ‘There are attachments to all the cranial nerves, as well as the internal carotid arteries and vertebral arteries.’
    • ‘From the brain stem emerge pairs of cranial nerves, analogous to the spinal nerves that innervate the limbs and trunk.’
    • ‘Your peripheral nervous system includes nerves in your face, arms, legs, torso, and some cranial nerves.’
    • ‘Cranial nerve palsies of the third, fourth and sixth cranial nerves may occur, affecting extraocular motility.’
    • ‘Occasionally, tumors may develop in the brain, on cranial nerves, or on the spinal cord.’


cranial nerve

/ˌkrānēəl ˈnərv/