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vagus nerve

noun, plural vagus nerves. Anatomy
either one of the tenth pair of cranial nerves, consisting of motor fibers that innervate the muscles of the pharynx, larynx, heart, and thoracic and abdominal viscera, and of sensory fibers that conduct impulses from these structures to the brain.
1830-40 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for vagus nerve
  • The vagus nerve runs between the brain and the abdomen, connecting the brain and the heart and other organs.
  • Lateral to the artery are the internal jugular vein and vagus nerve.
  • Each time you exhale, your brain sends a signal down the vagus nerve to slow the cardiac muscle.
  • The vagus nerve flashed signals to the stomach, which began to secrete digestive acids.
British Dictionary definitions for vagus nerve


noun (pl) -gi (-dʒaɪ)
the tenth cranial nerve, which supplies the heart, lungs, and viscera
Word Origin
C19: from Latin vagus wandering
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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vagus nerve in Medicine

vagus nerve n.
A mixed nerve that arises from numerous small roots from the side of the medulla oblongata and supplies the pharynx, larynx, lungs, heart, esophagus, stomach, and most of the abdominal viscera. Also called pneumogastric nerve, tenth cranial nerve.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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vagus nerve in Science
vagus nerve
Either of the tenth pair of cranial nerves that carries motor impulses from the brain to many major organs. The vagus nerve controls the muscles of the larynx (voice box), stimulates digestion, and regulates the heartbeat.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for vagus nerve

tenth cranial nerve

longest and most complex of the cranial nerves. The vagus nerve runs from the brain through the face and thorax to the abdomen. It is a mixed nerve that contains parasympathetic fibres. The vagus nerve has two sensory ganglia (masses of nerve tissue that transmit sensory impulses): the superior and the inferior ganglia. The branches of the superior ganglion innervate the skin in the concha of the ear. The inferior ganglion gives off two branches: the pharyngeal nerve and the superior laryngeal nerve. The recurrent laryngeal nerve branches from the vagus in the lower neck and upper thorax to innervate the muscles of the larynx (voice box). The vagus also gives off cardiac, esophageal, and pulmonary branches. In the abdomen the vagus innervates the greater part of the digestive tract and other abdominal viscera.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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