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[trey-kee-uh or, esp. British, truh-kee-uh] /ˈtreɪ ki ə or, esp. British, trəˈki ə/
noun, plural tracheae
[trey-kee-ee or, esp. British, truh-kee-ee] /ˈtreɪ kiˌi or, esp. British, trəˈki i/ (Show IPA),
Anatomy, Zoology. the tube in humans and other air-breathing vertebrates extending from the larynx to the bronchi, serving as the principal passage for conveying air to and from the lungs; the windpipe.
(in insects and other arthropods) one of the air-conveying tubes of the respiratory system.
Botany, vessel (def 5).
1350-1400; Middle English trache < Medieval Latin trāchēa, for Late Latin trāchīa < Greek trācheîa, short for artēría trācheîa rough artery, i.e., windpipe Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for trachea
  • Sound is produced when air from the lungs flows through the trachea past the vocal folds and sets them vibrating.
  • The trachea and bronchi are normally pink and smooth.
  • When air is inhaled through the nose or mouth, it travels down the trachea to the bronchus, where it first enters the lung.
  • His trachea and lungs had been scoped for blood or mucus.
  • The neck is straight, and the trachea is midline and mobile.
  • The battery had burned a hole in his esophagus and trachea and he required a feeding tube and two months of home nursing care.
  • Another interesting feature of the fossils is that they have large branching trachea-the harvestmen equivalent to lungs.
  • As their name suggests, mute swans are usually silent, limited by a straight trachea.
  • The trachea and bronchi have plexuses in the mucosa and submucosa but the smaller bronchi have only a single layer.
  • Surgical cuts are made to expose the tough cartilage rings that make up the outer wall of the trachea.
British Dictionary definitions for trachea


noun (pl) -cheae (-ˈkiːiː)
(anatomy, zoology) the membranous tube with cartilaginous rings that conveys inhaled air from the larynx to the bronchi Nontechnical name windpipe
any of the tubes in insects and related animals that convey air from the spiracles to the tissues
(botany) another name for vessel (sense 5), tracheid
Derived Forms
tracheal, tracheate, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin, from Greek trakheia, shortened from (artēria) trakheia rough (artery), from trakhus rough
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 trachea

c.1400, from Medieval Latin trachea (mid-13c.), as in trachea arteria, from Late Latin trachia (c.400), from Greek trakheia, in trakheia arteria "windpipe," literally "rough artery" (so called from the rings of cartilage that form the trachea), from fem. of trakhys "rough." See artery for connection with windpipe in Greek science.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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trachea in Medicine

trachea tra·che·a (trā'kē-ə)
n. pl. tra·che·as or tra·che·ae (-kē-ē')
The airway that extends from the larynx into the thorax where it divides into the right and left bronchi. It is composed of thin incomplete rings of hyaline cartilage connected by a membrane called the annular ligament. Also called windpipe.

tra'che·al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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trachea in Science
Plural tracheae (trā'kē-ē') or tracheas
  1. The tube in vertebrate animals that leads from the larynx to the bronchial tubes and carries air to the lungs. In mammals the trachea is strengthened by rings of cartilage. Also called windpipe.

  2. Any of the tiny tubes originating from the spiracles of many terrestrial arthropods and forming a branching network that brings air directly to body cells.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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trachea in Culture
trachea [(tray-kee-uh)]

The tube connecting the mouth to the bronchial tubes that carries air to the lungs; the windpipe.

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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