- The flap that covers the trachea during swallowing so that food does not enter the lungs. Not everything in medicine is perfectly logical. The name epiglottis was compounded from "epi-" and "- glottis" from the Greek "glotta" meaning "tongue" since it was once believed that the epiglottis was attached to the tongue!
* * *A leaf-shaped plate of elastic cartilage, covered with mucous membrane, at the root of the tongue, which serves as a diverter valve over the superior aperture of the larynx during the act of swallowing; it stands erect when liquids are being swallowed, but is passively bent over the aperture by solid foods being swallowed. [G. e., fr. epi, on, + glottis, the mouth of the windpipe]- bifid e. congenital malformation in which the right and left sides of the e. are not joined; associated with stridor and aspiration in the newborn due to the rotation of the two sides of the e. into the glottis.
* * *epi·glot·tis .ep-ə-'glät-əs n a thin lamella of yellow elastic cartilage that ordinarily projects upward behind the tongue and just in front of the glottis and that with the arytenoid cartilages serves to cover the glottis during the act of swallowing
* * *n.a thin leaf-shaped flap of cartilage, covered with mucous membrane, situated immediately behind the root of the tongue. It covers the entrance to the larynx during swallowing.
* * *epi·glot·tis (ep″ĭ-glotґis) [epi- + glottis] [TA] the lidlike cartilaginous structure overhanging the entrance to the larynx and serving to prevent food from entering the larynx and trachea while swallowing. epiglottic adj
Epiglottis in a sagittal section of the head and neck.
Medical dictionary. 2011.