Definition of pharynx in US English:



Anatomy Zoology
  • 1The membrane-lined cavity behind the nose and mouth, connecting them to the esophagus.

    • ‘As specialists, we visualise the pharynx and upper oesophagus with mirrors and a flexible laryngoscope and use rigid endoscopy under anaesthesia, which is the gold standard for investigation of this difficult area.’
    • ‘Derived from the Greek for throat, the pharynx is the continuous space behind the nose and the mouth that leads down both to the passage for food and to the passage for air.’
    • ‘The pharynx is connected to the esophagus and the larynx.’
    • ‘Some afferent fibres from the epiglottis, palate and pharynx also reach the brainstem via the vagus nerve.’
    • ‘Propelled by the contractions that a swallow induces in the pharyngeal musculature, each bolus moves rapidly through the pharynx and the upper esophageal sphincter into the esophagus.’
    1. 1.1 The part of the alimentary canal immediately behind the mouth in invertebrates.
      • ‘Feeding flatworms extend a long pharynx out of their mouths. This tube leads directly into the digestive tract.’
      • ‘The pharynx is a long, narrow, almost vertical tube extending dorsally from the mouth. The pharynx dilator muscle extends from the pharynx to the midline of the carapace. Contractions of this muscle dilate the pharynx and draw liquid food in through the mouth from the preoral cavity.’
      • ‘C. elegans is a soil-dwelling nematode that takes in food through a neuromuscular organ, the pharynx.’


Late 17th century: modern Latin, from Greek pharunx, pharung-.