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A schematic drawing of a syrinx (bird voice organ)


From Latin syrinx, from Ancient Greek σῦριγξ (sûrinks, pipe, tube, channel, fistula).



syrinx (plural syrinxes or syringes)

  1. A set of panpipes.
    • 1982, John Fowles, Mantissa:
      Actually, to cut a long story short, he began...well, playing with a rather different sort of pipe. Or syrinx, as we called it. He obviously thought he was alone.
    • 2006, Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day, Vintage 2007, p. 247:
      Inside, somebody was playing a duet on syrinx and lyre.
  2. A narrow channel cut in rock, especially in ancient Egyptian tombs.
  3. (zoology) The voice organ in birds.
    • 1999, Irene M. Pepperberg, The Alex Studies: Cognitive and Communicative Abilities of Grey Parrots, 2002, page 293,
      The role of the syrinx in psittacine sound production is still under examination, and probably differs from that of songbirds.
    • 2007, Gisela Kaplan, Tawny Frogmouth, page 121,
      The primary sound-producing organ in a bird is the syrinx and the secondary system aiding sound production consists of the larynx, mouth, tongue and laryngeal muscles.
    • 2010, Peter Simmons, David Young, Nerve Cells and Animal Behaviour, 3rd Edition, page 247,
      The organ responsible for producing sounds during song is the syrinx, located where the trachea joins the bronchi of the two lungs (Fig. 9.14).
  4. (medicine) A rare, fluid-filled neuroglial cavity within the spinal cord or in the brain stem

Related terms[edit]





  1. (rare) panpipes (instrument)