Hyoglossus muscle

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The hyoglossus muscle is a muscle of the tongue that depresses and retracts the tongue when contracted. It is one of four extrinsic tongue muscles - muscles that originate from a position outside of the tongue.



The hyoglossus originates from the hyoid bone, on the superior border of the greater cornu.


The hyoglossus inserts on the lateral side of the tongue.


The hyoglossus acts to depress and retract the tongue. Changes in the shape and size of the oral cavity that are created by tongue movements change the quality of the sound that issues from a persons mouth. Since the hyoglossus muscle is part of the system that controls tongue movement, this makes the hyoglossus muscle important for both speaking and singing.


The hyoglossus muscle receives nerve supply from the hypoglossal nerve.


Due to the protected location of the hyoglossus muscle, this muscle is not easily damaged. Injury to the hyoglossus is generally the result of a stabbing wound or a stroke. Depending on the location of the injury, recovery may be limited.

Word Origin

The hyoglossus, like many muscles, gets its name from its attachment points - hyo, referring to the hyoid bone, and glossus, meaning tongue.

See also

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