Definition of vagus in US English:


(also vagus nerve)


  • Each of the tenth pair of cranial nerves, supplying the heart, lungs, upper digestive tract, and other organs of the chest and abdomen.

    • ‘First the doctor may try rubbing the side of the patient's neck where there is a nerve called the vagus nerve.’
    • ‘The vagus nerve may run in front of the common carotid artery instead of behind it.’
    • ‘The smooth muscle portion of the esophagus is innervated by neurons within the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus.’
    • ‘Participants had a generator implanted in the anterior chest that was connected to stimulating coils on the left vagus nerve.’
    • ‘In experiments that required autonomic blockade, cervical vagi were isolated in the neck.’


Mid 19th century: from Latin (see vague).