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Definition of Nasopharynx

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Nasopharynx: The area of the upper throat that lies behind the nose. In contrast to the oropharynx, the area of the throat that lies behind the mouth.

The word "nasopharynx" is a hybrid -- part Latin, part Greek. "Naso-" is a prefix that has to do with the nose. It comes from the Latin "nasus" for the nose (or snout). "Pharynx" is the Greek word for throat. The Greco-Roman term "nasopharynx" was coined in 1877.

Reviewed on 12/12/2018

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