uvula

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palate

palate (pălˈĭt), 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. The back portion, or soft palate, consists of muscular tissue and mucous membrane forming a partial partition between the mouth and the throat. A small conelike projection, the uvula, hangs from the middle of the soft palate in humans. The soft palate and uvula move upward during swallowing or sucking, preventing food from entering the nasopharynx. In mammals other than humans, the soft palate overlaps the larynx during swallowing so as to prevent entry of foreign substances into the respiratory tract. Both the hard and soft portions of the palate are lined with mucous membrane containing numerous glands that lubricate the mouth and throat. If the sides of the bony palate fail to come together during embryonic development an opening, or cleft, remains along the midline. This condition, known as cleft palate, can be repaired surgically in early infancy. See digestive system.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Uvula

 

(also palatine uvula), a cone-shaped extension of the soft palate in humans and some anthropoid apes. The uvula departs from the middle of the posterior margin of the palate and proceeds with the apex downward. It is covered by a mucous membrane. The anterior side of the uvula faces the mouth, and the posterior side the nasopharynx. The uvula has its own tensor and levator muscles. When food reaches the throat and comes into contact with the uvula, the latter, along with the entire soft palate, rises by reflex action and thus enables the food to pass from the mouth into the pharynx. The human uvula also aids in hermetically sealing the mouth to prevent the jaw from sagging when the body is vertical. Parts of the oral appendages of different origins in some arthropods (crustaceans, arachnids, and insects) are also called uvulas.

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

uvula

[′yü·vyə·lə]
(anatomy)
A fingerlike projection in the midline of the posterior border of the soft palate.
A lobe of the vermiform process of the lower surface of the cerebellum.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

uvula

a small fleshy finger-like flap of tissue that hangs in the back of the throat and is an extension of the soft palate
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005