noun, plural: nasopharynges or nasopharynxes
(anatomy) The part of the pharynx extending from the posterior nares, and above the soft palate, directly continuous with the nasal passages
The pharynx is the cavity at the back of the mouth. It is located behind the mouth and the nasal cavity the esophagus and the larynx. The human pharynx is comprised of three sections: (1) the nasopharynx, (2) the oropharynx, and (3) the laryngopharynx.
The nasopharynx is about 2 to 3 cm in width and 3 to 4 cm in length. It is the part of the pharynx located above the soft palate and directly continuous with the nasal passages, thus the name. The soft palate lies in between the nasopharynx and the oropharynx. The nasopharynx serves as passageway for air coming from the nasal chamber to trachea. Located in the posterior wall are the pharyngeal tonsils (adenoids).
Word origin: naso- (nasal, nose) + pharynx
- nasopharyngeal (adjective, i.e. of, pertaining to nasopharynx)