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[eer-druhm] /ˈɪərˌdrʌm/
noun, Anatomy, Zoology
a membrane in the ear canal between the external ear and the middle ear; tympanic membrane.
1635-45; ear1 + drum1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for eardrum
  • When the eardrum vibrates as sound hits its surface, it sets the ossicles into motion.
  • When the eardrum is damaged, the hearing process is interrupted.
  • Ear infections may cause a ruptured eardrum, more often in children.
  • The infection causes pus or fluid to build up behind the eardrum.
  • The eardrum is a light-gray color or a shiny pearly-white.
  • Eventually, the tubes fall out as the hole in the eardrum closes.
  • Irrigation with a ruptured eardrum may cause ear infection or acoustic trauma.
  • The eardrum may be difficult for the doctor to see because of a swelling in the outer ear.
  • In a normal ear, sounds are transmitted through the air, causing the eardrum and then the middle ear bones to vibrate.
  • The eardrum can become stretched due to unequal pressure, creating a great amount of pain.
British Dictionary definitions for eardrum


the nontechnical name for tympanic membrane
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for eardrum

1640s, from ear (n.1) + drum (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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eardrum in Medicine

eardrum ear·drum (ēr'drŭm')
The thin, semitransparent, oval-shaped membrane that separates the middle ear from the external ear. Also called drum, drumhead, drum membrane, myringa, myrinx, tympanic membrane, tympanum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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eardrum in Science
The thin, oval-shaped membrane that separates the middle ear from the outer ear. It vibrates in response to sound waves, which are then transmitted to the ossicles of the middle ear. Also called tympanic membrane.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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eardrum in Culture

eardrum definition

The membrane that divides the outer ear from the middle ear. The vibrations of this membrane in response to sound waves lead to the sensation of hearing. Also called the tympanic membrane.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for eardrum

membrane in the human ear that receives sound vibrations from the outer air and transmits them to the auditory ossicles, which are tiny bones in the tympanic (middle ear) cavity. It also serves as the lateral wall of the tympanic cavity, separating it from the external auditory canal. The membrane lies across the end of the external canal and looks like a flattened cone with its tip (apex) pointed inward. The edges are attached to a ring of bone, the tympanic annulus.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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