Definition of palatal in US English:



  • 1Relating to the palate.

    ‘a palatal lesion’
    • ‘The lesion was distal and palatal to the maxillary left second molar, which was vital.’
    • ‘If the infant will require intubation for greater than 7 days, consider use of palate plate to prevent formation of a palatal groove.’
    • ‘Lesions may also affect the palate, pharynx, and larynx, causing palatal dysfunction, dysphagia, dysphonia, and aspiration.’
    • ‘Infectious mononucleosis should be suspected and a diagnostic evaluation obtained in febrile patients who have sore throat plus splenomegaly, palatal petechiae, or posterior, axillary, or inguinal adenopathy.’
    • ‘It may present clinically as a fluctuant buccal or palatal swelling, with or without a draining fistula.’
    1. 1.1Phonetics (of a speech sound) made by placing the blade of the tongue against or near the hard palate (e.g. y in yes).
      • ‘Modern Portuguese is characterized by an abundance of sibilant and palatal consonants and a broad spectrum of vowel sounds.’
      • ‘It is commonly a relic of a velar or palatal fricative that is preserved as a velar fricative.’
      • ‘His spelling of tree and leg shows that the Proto-Athabaskan velars had not yet become palatal affricates, as they soon thereafter did.’
      • ‘However, once the native English began to learn their masters' language they adjusted it to suit their own speech-habits; since English then as now lacked the palatal sound of French gn, it was simplified to n, so that vigne became vine.’
      • ‘In the International Phonetic Alphabet, < c > represents a voiceless palatal stop, < q > a voiceless uvular stop.’


  • A palatal sound.

    • ‘The problem with this is that these languages display palatals in the vicinity of both front and back vowels, and even before other consonants.’
    • ‘Serbian has a fairly extensive set of palatals and three sets of affricates.’


Early 18th century: from French, from Latin palatum (see palate).