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entrance to the digestive and respiratory tracts. The mouth, or oral cavity, is ordinarily a simple opening in lower animals; in vertebrates it is a more complex structure. In humans, the mouth is defined in front and at the sides by the lips, jawbone, teethteeth,
hard, calcified structures embedded in the bone of the jaws of vertebrates that perform the primary function of mastication. Humans and most other mammals have a temporary set of teeth, the deciduous, or milk, teeth; in humans, they usually erupt between the 6th and 24th
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, and gums; in the rear it merges with the throat. The roof of the mouth is composed of the hard and soft palatespalate
, roof of the mouth. The front part, known as the hard palate, formed by the upper maxillary bones and the palatine bones, separates the mouth from the nasal cavity. It is composed of a bone plate covered with a layer of mucous membrane tissue.
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 and the floor of the mouth is formed by the tonguetongue,
muscular organ occupying the floor of the mouth in vertebrates. In some animals, such as lizards, anteaters, and frogs, it serves a food-gathering function. In humans, the tongue functions principally in chewing, swallowing, and speaking.
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, a muscular structure that contains the organs of taste (taste buds). The lips, palates, tongue, and teeth are the major components in speech formation, using the "raw sound" formed in the larynxlarynx
, organ of voice in mammals. Commonly known as the voice box, the larynx is a tubular chamber about 2 in. (5 cm) high, consisting of walls of cartilage bound by ligaments and membranes, and moved by muscles. The human larynx extends from the trachea, or windpipe.
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. The process of digestion begins in the mouth; the chewing and grinding action of the teeth reduces the food to a readily digestible substance. The enzymatic process of converting starch to sugar is initiated by salivary amylase (ptyalin) excreted by the three salivary glandssalivary glands
, in humans, three pairs of glands that secrete the alkaline digestive fluid, saliva, into the mouth. Most animals have salivary glands that resemble those in humans; however, in some animals these glands perform other functions.
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 located at the angle of the jawbone and under the tongue. Saliva produced in these glands moistens food, preparing it for processing in the digestive systemdigestive system,
in the animal kingdom, a group of organs functioning in digestion and assimilation of food and elimination of wastes. Virtually all animals have a digestive system. In the vertebrates (phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata) the digestive system is very complex.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the part of a river that empties into a sea, lake, or another river. In rivers that dry out in their lower course, the place where the river terminates is designated the mouth.

Several types of mouth are distinguished. A simple mouth refers to the terminus of a river that does not divide into branches, such as the Tiber. Rivers may also terminate in deltas, as in the Nile; estuaries, as in the Thames; or limans, as in the Iuzhnyi Bug. A river may end in a discordant junction, which is characteristic of the tributaries of mountain rivers in which downcutting has been less intensive than in the principal river. If a river does not transport its waters to a sea, lake, or another river, it is sometimes said to terminate in a blind end.

Most large rivers that empty into a sea or large lake contain bars at the mouth; farther upriver are deep reaches that provide the customary wintering places for fish, such as the fish preserve pools in the Volga delta. The hydrological regime of river mouths is characterized by a complex variation in flow velocities, caused by such factors as ebb and flow, surge, increased flow rate during high water (ocean and lake rivers), and ice jams formed by drifting ice.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a mouth?

A big mouth indicates gossip and the spreading of lies, or perhaps spoken words of goodness and truth. Romantic or sexual urges are associated with this symbol, too.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


The oral or buccal cavity and its related structures.
(engineering acoustics)
The end of a horn that has the larger cross-sectional area.
The place where one body of water discharges into another. Also known as influx.
The entrance or exit of a geomorphic feature, such as of a cave or valley.
(mining engineering)
The end of a shaft, adit, drift, entry, or tunnel emerging at the surface.
The collar of a borehole.
(science and technology)
Something resembling a mouth, that is, a place where one thing enters another or an opening at the receiving end of a container or enclosure.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. the opening through which many animals take in food and issue vocal sounds
2. the system of organs surrounding this opening, including the lips, tongue, teeth, etc.
3. the visible part of the lips on the face
4. the point where a river issues into a sea or lake
5. the opening of a container, such as a jar
6. the opening of or place leading into a cave, tunnel, volcano, etc.
7. that part of the inner lip of a horse on which the bit acts, esp when specified as to sensitivity
8. Music the narrow slit in an organ pipe
9. the opening between the jaws of a vice or other gripping device
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
(25) Although other solutions have been proposed, Williamson points out that the elements of "great teacher," "mouthless speech," and its gold decoration link it to other "book" riddles, and its solution "can only be a religious book, presumably the Bible." The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book, 334.
My-earlier suggestion, that Charles Hamilton Sorley's "When You See Millions of the Mouthless Dead" can be paired with Georg Trakl's "Grodek," suggests one such exercise.
Her mask is also mouthless, but a full-grown crow caws at her, screeching its concerns.
-- The mouthless buffalo exhibits below-average robustness.
The movement of Freud's metaphor from "navel" (a kind of erect hole, not a scarred exit-wound but a closed entrance) to phallic mushroom (a mouthless excess of an otherwise rhizomic, acentric network) enacts the substitution of supplementarity that establishes the semiotic center of Freudian interpretation.
Or she could maintain that these specks are genuine mites, but that, contrary to what biologists believe, there are types of mites that are legless and mouthless. Such doctrines, we believe, would not be taken seriously by other biologists.
The mouthless character, with her child-like hair bow and a registered height of five apples, has spawned a multi-billion-dollar industry since Sanrio introduced her in 1974.
Although the exhibition title put the accent on drawing--understandably, since the show included some 180 works on paper--three paintings of Nixon were also on display, among them an outrageous masterpiece, San Clemente, 1975, showing the tearful, long-snouted, monstrously swollen-cheeked and mouthless former president at the seaside dragging his massively swollen left foot as if he were its appendage rather than it his.
The new Attrition album, Millions Of The Mouthless Dead, by Martin Bowes and Anni Hogan, is based on a poem by Charles Hamilton Sorley and is inspired by William Bowes, Martin's grandfather and the millions on all sides that experienced the living hell that was the Europe of 1914-1918.
Teen Wolf Season 4, Episode 3 Titled Muted Spoilers: The Mouthless Creature Appears, Scott's Mom in Danger [WATCH PROMO VIDEO] - [(
Singapore: Singapore residents braved hazardous air, bid hundreds of dollars and queued for hours to lay their hands on a special Hello Kitty stuffed toy, swept up in a craze for the mouthless Japanese cat that peaked this week in the city-state.
In "Teaching World War I Poetry--Comparatively," Margot Norris connects Charles Sorley's poem "When you see millions of the mouthless dead" to an uncanny phenomenon in World War I poetry: "Sorley's poem is one of a number of poems that invoke the figure of mouthlessness, or the broken mouth or broken teeth, as a trope for the difficulty or inability of soldiers to articulate their experiences" (144-5).