The tongue is a strong muscle anchored to the floor of the mouth. It is covered by the lingual membrane which has special areas to detect tastes. The tongue is composed of muscles attached to the lower jaw and to the hyoid bone (a small, U-shaped bone that lies deep in the muscles at the back of the tongue) above the larynx. On the top surface of the tongue there are small nodules called papillae that give the tongue its rough texture. Between the papillae at the sides and base of the tongue, there are small bulb-like structures that are the taste buds. The muscle fibers of the tongue are heavily supplied with nerves. Babies have more taste buds than adults and they have these almost everywhere in the mouth, including the cheeks. The tongue aids in the formation of the sounds of speech and coordinates its movements to aid in swallowing. The adjective for tongue is "lingual". So the papillae of the tongue are the lingual papillae.
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1. A mobile mass of muscular tissue covered with mucous membrane, occupying the cavity of the mouth and forming part of its floor, constituting also by its posterior portion the anterior wall of the pharnyx. It bears taste buds and assists in mastication, deglutition, and articulation. SYN: glossa, lingua (1). 2. A tonguelike structure. SYN: lingua (2). [A.S. tunge]
- baked t. the dry blackish t. noted when patients with typhoid fever or other disorders are allowed to become dehydrated.
- bald t. SYN: atrophic glossitis.
- beet-t. appearance of the t. in pellagra, where intense erythema appears, first at the tip, then along the edges, and finally over the dorsum; there may be pain and increased elevation; the shiny appearance results from edema, not atrophy, except in chronic pellagra.
- bifid t. a structural defect of the t. in which the extremity is divided longitudinally for a greater or lesser distance. See diglossia. SYN: cleft t..
- black t. 1. in canines, a disorder associated with a deficency of nicotinic acid. 2. black to yellowish-brown discoloration of the dorsum of the t. due to staining by exogenous material such as the components of tobacco; usually superimposed on hairy t.. SYN: black hairy t., lingua nigra, melanoglossia, nigrities linguae.
- black hairy t. SYN: black t..
- burning t. SYN: glossodynia.
- t. of cerebellum SYN: lingula of cerebellum.
- cleft t. SYN: bifid t..
- coated t. a t. with a whitish layer on its upper surface, composed of epithelial debris, food particles, and bacteria; often an indication of indigestion or of fever. SYN: furred t..
- t. crib An appliance used to control visceral (infantile) swallowing and t. thrusting and to encourage the mature or somatic t. posture and function.
- dotted t. one in which each separate papilla is capped with a whitish deposit. SYN: stippled t..
- fissured t. a painless condition of the t. characterized by numerous grooves or furrows on the dorsal surface. SYN: grooved t., lingua fissurata, lingua plicata, scrotal t..
- furred t. SYN: coated t..
- geographic t. idiopathic, asymptomatic erythematous circinate macules, often bounded peripherally by a white band, as a result of atrophy of the filiform papillae; with time the lesions resolve, coalesce, and change in distribution; frequently associated with fissured tongues. SYN: benign migratory glossitis, glossitis areata exfoliativa, pityriasis linguae.
- grooved t. SYN: fissured t..
- hairy t. a t. with abnormal elongation of the filiform papillae, resulting in a thickened furry appearance. SYN: glossotrichia, trichoglossia.
- hobnail t. interstitial glossitis with hypertrophy and verrucous changes in papillae; seen in some cases of late acquired syphilis.
- magenta t. purplish red coloration of the t., with edema and flattening of the filiform papillae, occurring in riboflavin deficiency. Cf.:cyanosis.
- mandibular t. SYN: lingula of mandible.
- raspberry t. strawberry t. that is a dark red color.
- red strawberry t. clinical manifestation of Kawasaki disease.
- scrotal t. SYN: fissured t..
- smoker's t. term for leukoplakia.
- stippled t. SYN: dotted t..
- strawberry t. a t. with a whitish coat through which the enlarged fungiform papillae project as red points, characteristic of scarlet fever and of mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome.
- t.-swallowing A slipping back of the t. against the pharynx, causing choking.
- t. thrust The infantile pattern of the suckle-swallow movement in which the t. is placed between the incisor teeth or the alveolar ridges during the initial stage of swallowing, resulting sometimes in an anterior open bite.

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tongue 'təŋ n a process of the floor of the mouth that is attached basally to the hyoid bone, that consists essentially of a mass of extrinsic muscle attaching its base to other parts, intrinsic muscle by which parts of the structure move in relation to each other, and an epithelial covering rich in sensory end organs and small glands, and that functions esp. in taking and swallowing food and as a speech organ

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a muscular organ attached to the floor of the mouth. It consists of a body and a root, which is attached by muscles to the hyoid bone below, the styloid process behind, and the palate above. It is covered by mucous membrane, which is continuous with that of the mouth and pharynx. On the undersurface of the tongue a fold of mucous membrane, the frenulum linguae, connects the midline of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. The surface of the tongue is covered with minute projections (papillae), which give it a furred appearance. taste buds are arranged in grooves around the papillae, particularly the fungiform and circumvallate papillae. The tongue has three main functions. It helps in manipulating food during mastication and swallowing; it is the main organ of taste; and it plays an important role in the production of articulate speech. Anatomical name: glossa.

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(tung) [L. lingua; Gr. glōssa] 1. lingua. 2. lingula. 3. any structure or organ having a shape similar to the oral organ of the same name.

The tongue, showing principal structures.

Medical dictionary. 2011.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • tongue — [tuŋ] n. [ME tunge < OE, akin to Ger zunge < IE base * dṇĝhū , tongue > L lingua (OL dingua)] 1. the movable muscular structure attached to the floor of the mouth in most vertebrates: it is an important organ in the ingestion of food,… …   English World dictionary

  • Tongue — Tongue, n. [OE. tunge, tonge, AS. tunge; akin to OFries. tunge, D. tong, OS. tunga, G. zunge, OHG. zunga, Icel. & Sw. tunga, Dan tunge, Goth. tugg[=o], OL. dingua, L. lingua. [root]243 Cf.{Language}, {Lingo}. ] [1913 Webster] 1. (Anat.) an organ… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • Tongue — Tongue, v. i. 1. To talk; to prate. Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. (Mus.) To use the tongue in forming the notes, as in playing the flute and some other wind instruments. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tongue|y — «TUHNG ee», adjective. 1. Informal. talkative; loquacious; garrulous. 2. of or like a tongue; produced by the tongue; lingual …   Useful english dictionary

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