From the archives:

Adam’s apple: The anterior lump in the neck, formed by the laryngeal prominence of the thyroid cartilage, the largest cartilage of the larynx.

The Adam’s apple is usually larger in men, but the overall size of the thyroid cartilage, relative to body size, is the same in both men and women. What is often different is the angle that the two anterior, vertical plates (laminae) of the cartilage make in forming the prominence: in a typical man the angle is about 90 degrees; in most women, a shallower 120. Thus in men, the cartilage usually protrudes a bit more.

It is not uncommon for a woman to have an Adam's apple larger than a man.


Regarding the etymology of "Adam's apple", typical is the entry in Webster's 1913 dictionary stating the term "… is so called from a notion that it was caused by the forbidden fruit, (an apple) sticking in the throat of [Adam]." This is pure supposition, and in fact, the term Adam's apple arose through a very early mistranlation of the Hebrew for “male bump”, tappuach ha adam, that was used to denote this anatomical feature. This is understandable as adam is Hebrew for “man” and tappuach is very similar if not identical to an old Hebrew word for apple (although some modern scholars now translate tappuach as quince or citron and others consider the term a generic for any spherical citrus). There is no mention in Genesis that the "forbidden fruit" was actually an apple anyway.

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