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Vermillion   Philtrum

In previous reviews, we explored "lip, lick, kiss, slick, spit ...; os, stomach, abdomen ... ; buccal, oral, chew ... ; drink, eat ... ; swallow, deglut, glutton ...; tongue, glossary, glottis ...; and throat, throttle, faucet, pharynx ...;". Whenever words express ideas that are concerned with human survival, such ideas are encircled by a large number of orbits populated by other words dealing with related concepts. Mammals depend on their lips to ensure their connection with mammary glands, thus their ability to survive.

Thin upper Mucosa (Vermillion) and wide Philtrum

   Prominent Philtrum

This review dedicated to LIP, LICK, SLICK, and to VERMILION and PHILTRUM has been expanded to include comments regarding USTA for OSTOMY, HUBA for HOLE, and ROT for ROUND. In future overviews, we hope to explore additional meanings such as those in BUCCA and BUCCinator, a BUCCAL muscle critical for the survival of mammals who must suck the succulent nutrients from their mamma. We also plan to include CHEEK or MEJILLA in Spanish, which points to MUSSEL and MUSCLE.

We start this review by noting that lips can be contracted, thus closing or "pursing" the lips which makes them protrude or POUT. The same is true for those who WHISTLE and those who suffer from the "WHISTLING FACE" syndrome. This condition, also known as the Freeman Sheldon syndrome, includes among its signs, the atrophy and contracture of the orbicular muscle surrounding the lips causing POUTING or PURSING of the lips.

Pouting or pursed lips caused by facial muscle contractions

The opposite of pouting are widely open lips or mouth which is reminiscent of containers with wide openings called POTs. Pot points to ROT, the Ukrainian word for mouth as well as to ROTA, the Latin word for "wheel like" or ROUND also found in ROTUND, ROTUNDA and implicit in POTHOLE.

LIP and LAP are linked in the sense that both have to do with "fold" as well as with "sip", "lapse" and "rotate". Furthermore, lip conveys ideas found in "lapel, lobe, edge, rim, brim, margin" as well as in "lick, slick, slime, slip".

Meanings in LIP and MOUTH overlap, as underscored by OS in Latin and USTA in Ukrainian, which refer to ORAL opening and lip respectively. Perhaps poets may find provocative that HUBA in Ukrainian refers to lips , while in the case of the cervix or uterine opening, HUBA means "the bashful mouth".

Lips have to do with "verbosity" and with concepts such as "empty promises" as in "loose talk", "loose lips" or "lip service".

Prominent Lip or vermillion

Cebocephaly or agenesis of the mid line (lip and  philtrum); down turned or "carp-like" mouth

   "Carp-like" or downward mouth

The fleshy brilliant red mucosa of the lips is called "vermilion" a term linked with ideas found in "vermin" and "worms" (insects were used to make red dyes). The curved outline of the upper edge of the vermilion of the upper lip is called "Cupid's bow" (as if blowing kisses is akin to shooting love arrows).

In some persons, the outer edges of the lips are below their mid junction (lips bow downward), which may be a sign of lax tissues or of aging. In medical parlance, such a feature may be called "fish or carp like mouth".

The mid portion of the upper lip or prolabium is called "philtrum". The philtrum of most persons has a vertical groove. This concavity can be used to hold perfumes or a "Philtron" (Greek for "love potion").

Prominent Vermillion

Prominent Philtrum and Cupid's bow

In children with developmental disabilities or birth defects, a flat philtrum and a thin vermilion are signs of fetal alcohol syndrome. Alcohol consumed during conception and early pregnancy is a potent teratogen and a cause of major birth defects and mental maldevelopment.

Clefts of the upper are either left or right. Midline "clefts" are most likely not clefts but underdevelopment or "agenesis" of mid portions of the prolabium. Such midline defects are associated with brain malformations and may be due to chromosome alterations as well as to gene mutations or teratogens. Cebocephaly denotes malformations of mid line structures including the philtrum.

To close, a reminder that from your upper lip's cupid bow you may blow a kiss or a BACCO in Italian to those whom you love, but not without a healthy BUCCINATOR.

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