Definition of epiglottis in US English:



  • A flap of cartilage at the root of the tongue, which is depressed during swallowing to cover the opening of the windpipe.

    • ‘The epiglottis is a flap of muscular tissue that closes off the entry to your voice box when you swallow.’
    • ‘In a prospective study of 100 adults without a history of known throat diseases or surgery, the epiglottis was successfully visualised in all participants.’
    • ‘Cultures of the epiglottis and throat should also be taken in the operating room.’
    • ‘Another odd characteristic of beavers is that their epiglottis lies above the soft palate, within the narial passage.’
    • ‘Speech requires flexibility of the upper airway, including laryngeal and hyoid mobility and separation of the hard palate from the epiglottis.’
    • ‘It distends to accommodate any material that passes through the epiglottis, and it is the most muscular portion of the alimentary tract.’
    • ‘The instrument is introduced orally and advanced to the epiglottis, where it is rotated 90 degrees to pass the vocal cords and enter the trachea.’
    • ‘Some afferent fibres from the epiglottis, palate and pharynx also reach the brainstem via the vagus nerve.’
    • ‘Proceed with the curved blade into the vallecula or straight over the epiglottis with the straight blade.’
    • ‘In some cases, such as when the swollen epiglottis blocks the windpipe, a tracheostomy may be performed.’
    • ‘An alternative technique, as used in adults, is to insert the tip of the blade into the vallecula at the base of the epiglottis (further than shown in the diagram), which lifts the epiglottis to reveal the vocal cords beneath.’
    • ‘His disease was more widespread with most of his airway affected from the base of the epiglottis to the entrance of the right main bronchus.’
    • ‘The epiglottis and tumours arising from it are composed of fibroelastic cartilage.’
    • ‘The characteristic barking cough of croup is uncommon in epiglottitis and, in cases of croup, the epiglottis is not as inflamed and edematous.’
    • ‘Here, the airway obstruction originated from an area of acute inflammation of the tongue base opposite, but not involving, the epiglottis.’
    • ‘The opening for air through the larynx is known as the glottis, and the epiglottis, below and behind the tongue, plays a necessary part in closing off the glottis during swallowing.’
    • ‘A 66-year-old woman was admitted for upper respiratory infection, periorbital edema, and swelling of the epiglottis and the lower extremities.’
    • ‘The vocal folds move to the midline, and the epiglottis folds backward to protect the airway.’
    • ‘The epiglottis is moved over the laryngeal inlet.’
    • ‘It is particularly important to understand the relationship of the following structures: the epiglottis, arytenoid cartilage, aryepiglottic folds, and cricoid cartilage.’


Late Middle English: from Greek epiglōttis, from epi ‘upon, near to’ + glōtta ‘tongue’.