Definition of phrenic in US English:



  • attributive Relating to the diaphragm.

    ‘the phrenic nerves’
    • ‘Thymic tissue can span from the level of the diaphragm to the thyroid, making surgical dissection difficult (especially in light of the proximity of the phrenic and vagus nerve and other vital structures).’
    • ‘A rare variant affects the phrenic nerves and diaphragm.’
    • ‘Hiccups are believed to be caused mainly by irritation of either the phrenic or vagus nerves anywhere along their paths.’
    • ‘A dissection of both the tectonic ontological nature as well as the mental, or phrenic, nature is the goal, primarily through the eyes of architecture.’
    • ‘These carry the rhythmic bursts of impulses, relayed from the brain stem via the phrenic motor neurons in the spinal cord, which cause regular inspiration.’
    • ‘An advantage of the axillary block is that needle placement is far from the dome of the lung and the phrenic nerve.’
    mental, emotional, intellectual, inner, non-physical, cerebral, brain, rational, cognitive, abstract, conceptual, theoretical
    View synonyms


Early 18th century: from French phrénique, from Greek phrēn, phren- ‘diaphragm, mind’ (because the mind was once thought to lie in the diaphragm).