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This article is about the part of the anatomy. Tongue_sentence_0

For other uses, see Language and Tongue (disambiguation). Tongue_sentence_1


PrecursorTongue_header_cell_0_2_0 pharyngeal arches, lateral lingual swelling, tuberculum imparTongue_cell_0_2_1
SystemTongue_header_cell_0_3_0 Alimentary tract, gustatory systemTongue_cell_0_3_1
ArteryTongue_header_cell_0_4_0 lingual, tonsillar branch, ascending pharyngealTongue_cell_0_4_1
VeinTongue_header_cell_0_5_0 lingualTongue_cell_0_5_1
NerveTongue_header_cell_0_6_0 Sensory

Anterior two-thirds: Lingual (sensation) and chorda tympani (taste) Posterior one-third: Glossopharyngeal (IX) Motor Hypoglossal (XII), except palatoglossus muscle supplied by the pharyngeal plexus via vagus (X)Tongue_cell_0_6_1

LymphTongue_header_cell_0_7_0 Deep cervical, submandibular, submentalTongue_cell_0_7_1
LatinTongue_header_cell_0_9_0 linguaTongue_cell_0_9_1
MeSHTongue_header_cell_0_10_0 Tongue_cell_0_10_1
TA98Tongue_header_cell_0_11_0 Tongue_cell_0_11_1
TA2Tongue_header_cell_0_12_0 Tongue_cell_0_12_1
FMATongue_header_cell_0_13_0 Tongue_cell_0_13_1

The tongue is a muscular organ in the mouth of most vertebrates that manipulates food for mastication and is used in the act of swallowing. Tongue_sentence_2

It has importance in the digestive system and is the primary organ of taste in the gustatory system. Tongue_sentence_3

The tongue's upper surface (dorsum) is covered by taste buds housed in numerous lingual papillae. Tongue_sentence_4

It is sensitive and kept moist by saliva and is richly supplied with nerves and blood vessels. Tongue_sentence_5

The tongue also serves as a natural means of cleaning the teeth. Tongue_sentence_6

A major function of the tongue is the enabling of speech in humans and vocalization in other animals. Tongue_sentence_7

The human tongue is divided into two parts, an oral part at the front and a pharyngeal part at the back. Tongue_sentence_8

The left and right sides are also separated along most of its length by a vertical section of fibrous tissue (the lingual septum) that results in a groove, the median sulcus, on the tongue's surface. Tongue_sentence_9

There are two groups of muscles of the tongue. Tongue_sentence_10

The four intrinsic muscles alter the shape of the tongue and are not attached to bone. Tongue_sentence_11

The four paired extrinsic muscles change the position of the tongue and are anchored to bone. Tongue_sentence_12

Etymology Tongue_section_0

The word tongue derives from the Old English tunge, which comes from Proto-Germanic *tungōn. Tongue_sentence_13

It has cognates in other Germanic languages—for example tonge in West Frisian, tong in Dutch and Afrikaans, Zunge in German, tunge in Danish and Norwegian, and tunga in Icelandic, Faroese and Swedish. Tongue_sentence_14

The ue ending of the word seems to be a fourteenth-century attempt to show "proper pronunciation", but it is "neither etymological nor phonetic". Tongue_sentence_15

Some used the spelling tunge and tonge as late as the sixteenth century. Tongue_sentence_16

In humans Tongue_section_1

Structure Tongue_section_2

The tongue is a muscular hydrostat that forms part of the floor of the oral cavity. Tongue_sentence_17

The left and right sides of the tongue are separated by a vertical section of fibrous tissue known as the lingual septum. Tongue_sentence_18

This division is along the length of the tongue save for the very back of the pharyngeal part and is visible as a groove called the median sulcus. Tongue_sentence_19

The human tongue is divided into anterior and posterior parts by the terminal sulcus which is a V-shaped groove. Tongue_sentence_20

The apex of the terminal sulcus is marked by a blind foramen, the foramen cecum, which is a remnant of the median thyroid diverticulum in early embryonic development. Tongue_sentence_21

The anterior oral part is the visible part situated at the front and makes up roughly two-thirds the length of the tongue. Tongue_sentence_22

The posterior pharyngeal part is the part closest to the throat, roughly one-third of its length. Tongue_sentence_23

These parts differ in terms of their embryological development and nerve supply. Tongue_sentence_24

The anterior tongue is, at its apex, thin and narrow. Tongue_sentence_25

It is directed forward against the lingual surfaces of the lower incisor teeth. Tongue_sentence_26

The posterior part is, at its root, directed backward, and connected with the hyoid bone by the hyoglossi and genioglossi muscles and the hyoglossal membrane, with the epiglottis by three glossoepiglottic folds of mucous membrane, with the soft palate by the glossopalatine arches, and with the pharynx by the superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle and the mucous membrane. Tongue_sentence_27

It also forms the anterior wall of the oropharynx. Tongue_sentence_28

The average length of the human tongue from the oropharynx to the tip is 10 cm. Tongue_sentence_29

The average weight of the human tongue from adult males is 70g and for adult females 60g. Tongue_sentence_30

In phonetics and phonology, a distinction is made between the tip of the tongue and the blade (the portion just behind the tip). Tongue_sentence_31

Sounds made with the tongue tip are said to be apical, while those made with the tongue blade are said to be laminal. Tongue_sentence_32

Upper surface of the tongue Tongue_section_3

The upper surface of the tongue is called the dorsum, and is divided by a groove into symmetrical halves by the median sulcus. Tongue_sentence_33

The foramen cecum marks the end of this division (at about 2.5 cm from the root of the tongue) and the beginning of the terminal sulcus. Tongue_sentence_34

The foramen cecum is also the point of attachment of the thyroglossal duct and is formed during the descent of the thyroid diverticulum in embryonic development. Tongue_sentence_35

The terminal sulcus is a shallow groove that runs forward as a shallow groove in a V shape from the foramen cecum, forwards and outwards to the margins (borders) of the tongue. Tongue_sentence_36

The terminal sulcus divides the tongue into a posterior pharyngeal part and an anterior oral part. Tongue_sentence_37

The pharyngeal part is supplied by the glossopharyngeal nerve and the oral part is supplied by the lingual nerve (a branch of the mandibular branch (V3) of the trigeminal nerve) for somatosensory perception and by the chorda tympani (a branch of the facial nerve) for taste perception. Tongue_sentence_38

Both parts of the tongue develop from different pharyngeal arches. Tongue_sentence_39

Undersurface of the tongue Tongue_section_4

On the undersurface of the tongue is a fold of mucous membrane called the frenulum that tethers the tongue at the midline to the floor of the mouth. Tongue_sentence_40

On either side of the frenulum are small prominences called sublingual caruncles that the major salivary submandibular glands drain into. Tongue_sentence_41

Muscles Tongue_section_5

The eight muscles of the human tongue are classified as either intrinsic or extrinsic. Tongue_sentence_42

The four intrinsic muscles act to change the shape of the tongue, and are not attached to any bone. Tongue_sentence_43

The four extrinsic muscles act to change the position of the tongue, and are anchored to bone. Tongue_sentence_44

Extrinsic Tongue_section_6

The four extrinsic muscles originate from bone and extend to the tongue. Tongue_sentence_45

They are the genioglossus, the hyoglossus (often including the chondroglossus) the styloglossus, and the palatoglossus. Tongue_sentence_46

Their main functions are altering the tongue's position allowing for protrusion, retraction, and side-to-side movement. Tongue_sentence_47

The genioglossus arises from the mandible and protrudes the tongue. Tongue_sentence_48

It is also known as the tongue's "safety muscle" since it is the only muscle that propels the tongue forward. Tongue_sentence_49

The hyoglossus, arises from the hyoid bone and retracts and depresses the tongue. Tongue_sentence_50

The chondroglossus is often included with this muscle. Tongue_sentence_51

The styloglossus arises from the styloid process of the temporal bone and draws the sides of the tongue up to create a trough for swallowing. Tongue_sentence_52

The palatoglossus arises from the palatine aponeurosis, and depresses the soft palate, moves the palatoglossal fold towards the midline, and elevates the back of the tongue during swallowing. Tongue_sentence_53

Intrinsic Tongue_section_7

Four paired intrinsic muscles of the tongue originate and insert within the tongue, running along its length. Tongue_sentence_54

They are the superior longitudinal muscle, the inferior longitudinal muscle, the vertical muscle, and the transverse muscle. Tongue_sentence_55

These muscles alter the shape of the tongue by lengthening and shortening it, curling and uncurling its apex and edges as in tongue rolling, and flattening and rounding its surface. Tongue_sentence_56

This provides shape and helps facilitate speech, swallowing, and eating. Tongue_sentence_57

The superior longitudinal muscle runs along the upper surface of the tongue under the mucous membrane, and elevates, assists in retraction of, or deviates the tip of the tongue. Tongue_sentence_58

It originates near the epiglottis, at the hyoid bone, from the median fibrous septum. Tongue_sentence_59

The inferior longitudinal muscle lines the sides of the tongue, and is joined to the styloglossus muscle. Tongue_sentence_60

The vertical muscle is located in the middle of the tongue, and joins the superior and inferior longitudinal muscles. Tongue_sentence_61

The transverse muscle divides the tongue at the middle, and is attached to the mucous membranes that run along the sides. Tongue_sentence_62

Blood supply Tongue_section_8

The tongue receives its blood supply primarily from the lingual artery, a branch of the external carotid artery. Tongue_sentence_63

The lingual veins drain into the internal jugular vein. Tongue_sentence_64

The floor of the mouth also receives its blood supply from the lingual artery. Tongue_sentence_65

There is also a secondary blood supply to the root of tongue from the tonsillar branch of the facial artery and the ascending pharyngeal artery. Tongue_sentence_66

An area in the neck sometimes called the Pirogov triangle is formed by the intermediate tendon of the digastric muscle, the posterior border of the mylohyoid muscle, and the hypoglossal nerve. Tongue_sentence_67

The lingual artery is a good place to stop severe hemorrhage from the tongue. Tongue_sentence_68

Nerve supply Tongue_section_9

Innervation of the tongue consists of motor fibers, special sensory fibers for taste, and general sensory fibers for sensation. Tongue_sentence_69


Innervation of taste and sensation is different for the anterior and posterior part of the tongue because they are derived from different embryological structures (pharyngeal arch 1 and pharyngeal arches 3 and 4, respectively). Tongue_sentence_70


Lymphatic drainage Tongue_section_10

The tip of tongue drains to the submental nodes. Tongue_sentence_71

The left and right halves of the anterior two-thirds of the tongue drains to submandibular lymph nodes, while the posterior one-third of the tongue drains to the jugulo-omohyoid nodes. Tongue_sentence_72

Microanatomy Tongue_section_11

The upper surface of the tongue is covered in masticatory mucosa a type of oral mucosa which is of keratinized stratified squamous epithelium. Tongue_sentence_73

Embedded in this are numerous papillae some of which house the taste buds and their taste receptors. Tongue_sentence_74

The lingual papillae consist of filiform, fungiform, vallate and foliate papillae. Tongue_sentence_75

and only the filiform papillae are not associated with any taste buds. Tongue_sentence_76

The tongue can also divide itself in dorsal and ventral surface. Tongue_sentence_77

The dorsal surface is a stratified squamous keratinized epithelium which is characterized by numerous mucosal projections called papillae. Tongue_sentence_78

The lingual papillae covers the dorsal side of the tongue towards the front of the terminal groove . Tongue_sentence_79

The ventral surface is stratified squamous non-keratinized epithelium which is smooth. Tongue_sentence_80

Development Tongue_section_12

The tongue begins to develop in the fourth week of embryonic development from a median swelling – the median tongue bud (tuberculum impar) of the first pharyngeal arch. Tongue_sentence_81

In the fifth week a pair of lateral lingual swellings, one on the right side and one on the left, form on the first pharyngeal arch. Tongue_sentence_82

These lingual swellings quickly expand and cover the median tongue bud. Tongue_sentence_83

They form the anterior part of the tongue that makes up two thirds of the length of the tongue, and continue to develop through prenatal development. Tongue_sentence_84

The line of their fusion is marked by the median sulcus. Tongue_sentence_85

In the fourth week a swelling appears from the second pharyngeal arch, in the midline, called the copula. Tongue_sentence_86

During the fifth and sixth weeks the copula is overgrown by a swelling from the third and fourth arches (mainly from the third arch) called the hypopharyngeal eminence, and this develops into the posterior part of the tongue (the other third). Tongue_sentence_87

The hypopharyngeal eminence develops mainly by the growth of endoderm from the third pharyngeal arch. Tongue_sentence_88

The boundary between the two parts of the tongue, the anterior from the first arch and the posterior from the third arch is marked by the terminal sulcus. Tongue_sentence_89

The terminal sulcus is shaped like a V with the tip of the V situated posteriorly. Tongue_sentence_90

At the tip of the terminal sulcus is the foramen cecum, which is the point of attachment of the thyroglossal duct where the embryonic thyroid begins to descend. Tongue_sentence_91

Function Tongue_section_13

Taste Tongue_section_14

Main articles: Taste, Taste receptor, and Supertaster Tongue_sentence_92

Chemicals that stimulate taste receptor cells are known as tastants. Tongue_sentence_93

Once a tastant is dissolved in saliva, it can make contact with the plasma membrane of the gustatory hairs, which are the sites of taste transduction. Tongue_sentence_94

The tongue is equipped with many taste buds on its dorsal surface, and each taste bud is equipped with taste receptor cells that can sense particular classes of tastes. Tongue_sentence_95

Distinct types of taste receptor cells respectively detect substances that are sweet, bitter, salty, sour, spicy, or taste of umami. Tongue_sentence_96

Umami receptor cells are the least understood and accordingly are the type most intensively under research. Tongue_sentence_97

Mastication Tongue_section_15

The tongue is an important accessory organ in the digestive system. Tongue_sentence_98

The tongue is used for crushing food against the hard palate, during mastication and manipulation of food for softening prior to swallowing. Tongue_sentence_99

The epithelium on the tongue's upper, or dorsal surface is keratinised. Tongue_sentence_100

Consequently, the tongue can grind against the hard palate without being itself damaged or irritated. Tongue_sentence_101

Speech Tongue_section_16

The intrinsic muscles of the tongue enable the shaping of the tongue which facilitates speech. Tongue_sentence_102

Intimacy Tongue_section_17

The tongue plays a role in physical intimacy and sexuality. Tongue_sentence_103

The tongue is part of the erogenous zone of the mouth and can be used in intimate contact, as in the French kiss and in oral sex. Tongue_sentence_104

The tongue can be used for stimulating the clitoris and other areas of the vulva. Tongue_sentence_105

Clinical significance Tongue_section_18

Disease Tongue_section_19

Main article: Tongue disease Tongue_sentence_106

A congenital disorder of the tongue is that of ankyloglossia also known as tongue-tie. Tongue_sentence_107

The tongue is tied to the floor of the mouth by a very short and thickened frenulum and this affects speech, eating, and swallowing. Tongue_sentence_108

The tongue is prone to several pathologies including glossitis and other inflammations such as geographic tongue, and median rhomboid glossitis; burning mouth syndrome, oral hairy leukoplakia, oral candidiasis (thrush), black hairy tongue and fissured tongue. Tongue_sentence_109

There are several types of oral cancer that mainly affect the tongue. Tongue_sentence_110

Mostly these are squamous cell carcinomas. Tongue_sentence_111

Food debris, desquamated epithelial cells and bacteria often form a visible tongue coating. Tongue_sentence_112

This coating has been identified as a major factor contributing to bad breath (halitosis), which can be managed by using a tongue cleaner. Tongue_sentence_113

Medication delivery Tongue_section_20

The sublingual region underneath the front of the tongue is an ideal location for the administration of certain medications into the body. Tongue_sentence_114

The oral mucosa is very thin underneath the tongue, and is underlain by a plexus of veins. Tongue_sentence_115

The sublingual route takes advantage of the highly vascular quality of the oral cavity, and allows for the speedy application of medication into the cardiovascular system, bypassing the gastrointestinal tract. Tongue_sentence_116

This is the only convenient and efficacious route of administration (apart from Intravenous therapy) of nitroglycerin to a patient suffering chest pain from angina pectoris. Tongue_sentence_117

Other animals Tongue_section_21

The muscles of the tongue evolved in amphibians from occipital somites. Tongue_sentence_118

Most amphibians show a proper tongue after their metamorphosis. Tongue_sentence_119

As a consequence most vertebrate animals—amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals—have tongues. Tongue_sentence_120

In mammals such as dogs and cats, the tongue is often used to clean the fur and body by licking. Tongue_sentence_121

The tongues of these species have a very rough texture which allows them to remove oils and parasites. Tongue_sentence_122

Some dogs have a tendency to consistently lick a part of their foreleg which can result in a skin condition known as a lick granuloma. Tongue_sentence_123

A dog's tongue also acts as a heat regulator. Tongue_sentence_124

As a dog increases its exercise the tongue will increase in size due to greater blood flow. Tongue_sentence_125

The tongue hangs out of the dog's mouth and the moisture on the tongue will work to cool the bloodflow. Tongue_sentence_126

Some animals have tongues that are specially adapted for catching prey. Tongue_sentence_127

For example, chameleons, frogs, pangolins and anteaters have prehensile tongues. Tongue_sentence_128

Other animals may have organs that are analogous to tongues, such as a butterfly's proboscis or a radula on a mollusc, but these are not homologous with the tongues found in vertebrates and often have little resemblance in function. Tongue_sentence_129

For example, butterflies do not lick with their proboscides; they suck through them, and the proboscis is not a single organ, but two jaws held together to form a tube. Tongue_sentence_130

Many species of fish have small folds at the base of their mouths that might informally be called tongues, but they lack a muscular structure like the true tongues found in most tetrapods. Tongue_sentence_131

Society and culture Tongue_section_22

Figures of speech Tongue_section_23

The tongue can be used as a metonym for language. Tongue_sentence_132

For example, the New Testament of the Bible, in the Book of Acts of the Apostles, Jesus' disciples on the Day of Pentecost received a type of spiritual gift: "there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. Tongue_sentence_133

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues ....", which amazed the crowd of Jewish people in Jerusalem, who were from various parts of the Roman Empire but could now understand what was being preached. Tongue_sentence_134

The phrase mother tongue is used as a child's first language. Tongue_sentence_135

Many languages have the same word for "tongue" and "language". Tongue_sentence_136

A common temporary failure in word retrieval from memory is referred to as the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon. Tongue_sentence_137

The expression tongue in cheek refers to a statement that is not to be taken entirely seriously – something said or done with subtle ironic or sarcastic humour. Tongue_sentence_138

A tongue twister is a phrase made specifically to be very difficult to pronounce. Tongue_sentence_139

Aside from being a medical condition, "tongue-tied" means being unable to say what you want due to confusion or restriction. Tongue_sentence_140

The phrase "cat got your tongue" refers to when a person is speechless. Tongue_sentence_141

To "bite one's tongue" is a phrase which describes holding back an opinion to avoid causing offence. Tongue_sentence_142

A "slip of the tongue" refers to an unintentional utterance, such as a Freudian slip. Tongue_sentence_143

The "gift of tongues" refers to when one is uncommonly gifted to be able to speak in a foreign language, often as a type of spiritual gift. Tongue_sentence_144

Speaking in tongues is a common phrase used to describe glossolalia, which is to make smooth, language-resembling sounds that is no true spoken language itself. Tongue_sentence_145

A deceptive person is said to have a forked tongue, and a smooth-talking person said to have a . Tongue_sentence_146

Gestures Tongue_section_24

Sticking one's tongue out at someone is considered a childish gesture of rudeness or defiance in many countries; the act may also have sexual connotations, depending on the way in which it is done. Tongue_sentence_147

However, in Tibet it is considered a greeting. Tongue_sentence_148

In 2009, a farmer from Fabriano, Italy, was convicted and fined by the country's highest court for sticking his tongue out at a neighbor with whom he had been arguing. Tongue_sentence_149

Proof of the affront had been captured with a cell phone camera. Tongue_sentence_150

Body art Tongue_section_25

Tongue piercing and splitting have become more common in western countries in recent decades. Tongue_sentence_151

In one study, one-fifth of young adults were found to have at least one type of oral piercing, most commonly the tongue. Tongue_sentence_152

As food Tongue_section_26

See also: Beef tongue Tongue_sentence_153

The tongues of some animals are consumed and sometimes considered delicacies. Tongue_sentence_154

Hot tongue sandwiches are frequently found on menus in kosher delicatessens in America. Tongue_sentence_155

Taco de lengua (lengua being Spanish for tongue) is a taco filled with beef tongue, and is especially popular in Mexican cuisine. Tongue_sentence_156

As part of Colombian gastronomy, Tongue in Sauce (Lengua en Salsa), is a dish prepared by frying the tongue, adding tomato sauce, onions and salt. Tongue_sentence_157

Tongue can also be prepared as birria. Tongue_sentence_158

Pig and beef tongue are consumed in Chinese cuisine. Tongue_sentence_159

Duck tongues are sometimes employed in Szechuan dishes, while lamb's tongue is occasionally employed in Continental and contemporary American cooking. Tongue_sentence_160

Fried cod "tongue" is a relatively common part of fish meals in Norway and Newfoundland. Tongue_sentence_161

In Argentina and Uruguay cow tongue is cooked and served in vinegar (lengua a la vinagreta). Tongue_sentence_162

In the Czech Republic and Poland, a pork tongue is considered a delicacy, and there are many ways of preparing it. Tongue_sentence_163

In Eastern Slavic countries, pork and beef tongues are commonly consumed, boiled and garnished with horseradish or jelled; beef tongues fetch a significantly higher price and are considered more of a delicacy. Tongue_sentence_164

In Alaska, cow tongues are among the more common. Tongue_sentence_165

Tongues of seals and whales have been eaten, sometimes in large quantities, by sealers and whalers, and in various times and places have been sold for food on shore. Tongue_sentence_166

Additional images Tongue_section_27


  • Tongue_item_2_8
  • Tongue_item_2_9
  • Tongue_item_2_10
  • Tongue_item_2_11
  • Tongue_item_2_12

See also Tongue_section_28

This article uses anatomical terminology. Tongue_sentence_167


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