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Vocabulary and Study Section


Lymphatic tissue in the nasopharynx; pharyngeal tonsils.

alveolus (Plural: alveoli)

Air sac in the lung.

apex of the lung

Tip or uppermost portion of the lung. An apex is the tip of a structure. Apical means pertaining to "at" the apex.

base of the lung

Lower portion of the lung; from the Greek basis, foundation. Basilar means pertaining to the base.


Smallest branches of the bronchi. Terminal bronchioles lead to alveolar ducts.

bronchus (plural: bronchi)

Branch of the trachea "windpipe" that is a passageway into the lung; bronchial tube.

carbon dioxide (CO2)

Gas produced by body cells when oxygen and food combine; exhaled through the lungs.


Thin hairs attached to the mucous membrane epithelium lining the respiratory tract. They clear bacteria and foreign substances from the lung. Cigarette smoke impairs the function of cilia.


Muscle separating the chest and abdomen. It contracts and relaxes to make breathing possible.


Lid-like piece of cartilage that covers the larynx, preventing food from entering the larynx and trachea during swallowing.


Breathing out (exhalation).


Slit-like opening to the larynx.

hilum "of lung"

Midline region where the bronchi, blood vessels, and nerves enter and exit the lungs. Hilar means pertaining to "at" the hilum.


Breathing in "inhalation".


Voice box; containing the vocal cords.


Division of a lung.


Region between the lungs in the chest cavity. It contains the trachea, heart, aorta, esophagus, and bronchial tubes.


Openings through the nose carrying air into the nasal cavities.

oxygen (O2)

Gas that passes into the bloodstream at the lungs and travels to all body cells.

palatine tonsil

One of a pair of almond-shaped masses of lymphatic tissue in the oropharynx "palatine means pertaining to the roof of the mouth".

paranasal sinus

One of the air cavities in the bones near the nose.

parietal pleura

Outer fold of pleura lying closer to the ribs and chest wall.


Throat; including the nasopharynx, oropharynx, and laryngopharynx.


Double-folded membrane surrounding each lung.

pleural cavity

Space between the folds of the pleura.

pulmonary parenchyma

Essential parts of the lung, responsible for respiration; bronchioles and alveoli.


Process of moving air into and out of the lungs; breathing



visceral pleura

inner fold of pleura lying closer to the lung tissue.


Coal dust accumulation in the lungs.


Asbestos particles accumulate in the lungs.

bacilli ( singular: bacillus)

Rod-shaped bacteria "cause of tuberculosis".

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic condition of persistent obstruction of air flow through bronchial tubes and lungs. COPD is caused by smoking, air pollution, chronic infection, and in a minority of cases, asthma. Patients with predominant chronic bronchitis COPD are referred to as "blue bloaters" "cyanotic, stocky build", whereas those with predominant emphysema are called "pink puffers" "short of breath, but with near-normal blood oxygen levels, and no change in skin color".

cor pulmonale

Failure of the right side of the heart to pump a sufficient amount of blood to the lungs because of underlying lung disease.


Fluid, cells, and other substances "pus" that filter from cells or capillaries ooze into lesions or areas of inflammation.


Collection of fluid in the pleural cavity.


Collection of fluid or other material within the lung, as seen on a chest film, CT scan, or other radiologic image.


Relieving symptoms, but not curing the disease.


Pertaining to a sudden occurrence, such as a spasm or seizure; oxysm/o means sudden.

pulmonary infarction

Area of necrosis "death of lung tissue".


Containing pus.


Disease due to silica or glass dust in the lungs; occurs in mining occupations.

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