Ever had the hiccups? Then you're familiar with your diaphragm, the large muscle that stretches across your midriff to support your lungs and help you breathe. When you get the hiccups, your diaphragm spasms uncontrollably.

The Greek word diáphragma referred to the body's midriff and came from the root phrágma, meaning "fence." This led to the Middle English diafragma, also referring to the muscular stretch below the lungs. The idea of a diaphragm as a contraceptive first surfaced in 1933. A diaphragm is also the part of the camera called a "stop," which adjusts the amount of light, and it is a thin, vibrating disc used in electronics to transfer sound.

Definitions of diaphragm

n (anatomy) a muscular partition separating the abdominal and thoracic cavities; functions in respiration

Type of:
membrane, tissue layer
a pliable sheet of tissue that covers or lines or connects the organs or cells of animals or plants
muscle system, muscular structure, musculature
the muscular system of an organism

n a mechanical device in a camera that controls size of aperture of the lens

“the new cameras adjust the diaphragm automatically”
iris, iris diaphragm
diaphragm consisting of thin overlapping plates that can be adjusted to change the diameter of a central opening
Type of:
mechanical device
mechanism consisting of a device that works on mechanical principles

n a contraceptive device consisting of a flexible dome-shaped cup made of rubber or plastic; it is filled with spermicide and fitted over the uterine cervix

contraceptive diaphragm, pessary
Type of:
birth control device, contraceptive, contraceptive device, preventative, preventive, prophylactic device
an agent or device intended to prevent conception

n electro-acoustic transducer that vibrates to receive or produce sound waves

Type of:
disc, disk
a flat circular plate

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