Definition of pharyngeal in US English:



  • 1Relating to the pharynx.

    • ‘The levator veli palatini muscle, which elevates the soft palate, is innervated by a pharyngeal branch of the vagus nerve.’
    • ‘Its fibers pass dorsally from an extensive anterior attachment to insert on the pharyngeal raphe, the pharyngeal tubercle of the occipital bone.’
    • ‘The hypoglossal and glossopharyngeal nerves innervate pharyngeal dilator muscles.’
    • ‘Combined stimulation of the hypoglossus branch and pharyngeal branch of the vagus nerve produced significant interactions between pressure and stimulation in the caudal oropharynx.’
    • ‘The muscular walls of the pharynx constitute three overlapping sheets of striated muscle, the pharyngeal constrictors.’
    1. 1.1Phonetics (of a speech sound) produced by articulating the root of the tongue with the pharynx, a feature of certain consonants in Arabic, for example.
      • ‘From the lips back to the larynx, the IPA names 11 places of articulation: bilabial labiodental dental alveolar postalveolar retroflex palatal velar uvular pharyngeal glottal’
      • ‘Modern phoneticians would more precisely categorize such consonants into velar, uvular, pharyngeal, and glottal articulations.’


  • A pharyngeal consonant.

    • ‘It has a series of ejectives, voiced stops that are truly voiced even in word-initial position, phonemic glottal stop, and several fricatives absent from English, including a pair of pharyngeals.’
    • ‘We also find that the pharyngeals involve an even longer articulatory sequence than glottalized consonants.’
    • ‘Cuneiform was in many ways unsuited to Akkadian: among its flaws was its inability to represent important phonemes in Semitic, including a glottal stop, pharyngeals, and emphatic consonants.’


Early 19th century: from modern Latin pharyngeus (from Greek pharunx, pharung- ‘throat’) + -al.