Share this entry

phrenic Line breaks: phren¦ic
Pronunciation: /ˈfrɛnɪk/

Definition of phrenic in English:


[attributive] Anatomy
Relating to the diaphragm: the phrenic nerves
More example sentences
  • These carry the rhythmic bursts of impulses, relayed from the brain stem via the phrenic motor neurons in the spinal cord, which cause regular inspiration.
  • A rare variant affects the phrenic nerves and diaphragm.
  • Thymic tissue can span from the level of the diaphragm to the thyroid, making surgical dissection difficult (especially in light of the proximity of the phrenic and vagus nerve and other vital structures).


Early 18th century: from French phrénique, from Greek phrēn, phren- 'diaphragm, mind' (because the mind was once thought to lie in the diaphragm).

Definition of phrenic in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources