Two prominent, rounded bodies of lymphatic tissue, the palatine tonsils (tonsilla palatina), are located on each side of the tongue at the back of the mouth in the pharynx (throat). They lie beneath the mucous membrane lining mouth and are closely associated with the soft palate (roof of the mouth). They vary in size in different individuals and are a small part of the body's protection against infection. The tonsils are composed of lymphoid tissue, which contains germ-killing cells. When they become infected, they become inflamed in a condition known as tonsillitis. The tonsils and adenoids (also located in the pharynx) are two pairs of organs that seem to give more trouble than service to the body.
A large oval mass of lymphoid tissue embedded in the lateral wall of the oral pharynx on either side between the pillars of the fauces.
Synonym: tonsilla palatina, tonsilla, faucial tonsil, tonsil.