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late 14c., "roof of the mouth," from Old French palat and directly from Latin palatum "roof of the mouth," perhaps of Etruscan origin [Klein]. Popularly considered the seat of taste, hence transferred meaning "sense of taste" (late 14c.), which also was in classical Latin. Related: Palatal; palatalize.
soft palate n.
The movable fold, consisting of muscular fibers enclosed in mucous membrane, that is suspended from the rear of the hard palate and closes off the nasal cavity from the oral cavity during swallowing or sucking.
palate pal·ate (pāl'ĭt)
The bony and muscular partition between the oral and nasal cavities; the roof of the mouth.
|soft palate |
See under palate.
The roof of the mouth in vertebrate animals, separating the mouth from the passages of the nose. ◇ The bony part of the palate is called the hard palate. ◇ A soft, flexible, rear portion of the palate, called the soft palate, is present in mammals only and serves to close off the mouth from the nose during swallowing.
The roof of the mouth. The palate separates the mouth from the nasal cavity.
Note: It is sometimes said that a person has a “cultivated palate” if he or she has a discerning taste for food.