Cricoid comes from the Greek krikos (finger-ring) and -oedes (shape). The term was coined by the Romans in the first century.

  • It is almost universally stated that the cricoid cartilage, the most inferior component of the larynx, is so-named because of it's similarity to a signet ring (a ring with an engraved seal). However, the cartilage more closely resembles, and is more likely named after, the thumb-ring of an archer. Indeed, Vesalius included a drawing of such a ring when describing the cricoid in his Fabrica

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A Roman signet ring

Posterior view of the cricoid cartilage

Drawing of a Turkish archer's thumb ring
Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica, 1543

An ancient Roman archer's thumb ring

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