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Extrinsic muscles of the tongue. Left side. (Styloglossus visible at center top.)
Coronal section of tongue, showing intrinsic muscles. (Styloglossus labeled at center left.)
Latin musculus styloglossus
Gray's subject #242 1130
Origin: Styloid process of temporal bone
Insertion: tongue
Nerve: Hypoglossal nerve CN XII
Dorlands/Elsevier m_22/12550968

The Styloglossus, the shortest and smallest of the three styloid muscles, arises from the anterior and lateral surfaces of the styloid process, near its apex, and from the stylomandibular ligament.

Passing downward and forward between the internal and external carotid arteries, it divides upon the side of the tongue near its dorsal surface, blending with the fibers of the Longitudinalis inferior in front of the Hyoglossus; the other, oblique, overlaps the Hyoglossus and decussates with its fibers.


Like most muscles of the tongue, the styloglossus is innervated by the hypoglossal nerve (CN XII).


The styloglossus draws up the sides of the tongue to create a trough for swallowing. As a pair they also aid in retracting the tongue.

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This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

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