Skip to Content
Medical Term:


Pronunciation: ep'i-glot'is

Definition: A leaf-shaped plate of elastic fibrocartilage, 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. epiglottis, fr. epi, on, + glottis, the mouth of the windpipe]

© Copyright 2016 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.