February 3, 2005 3:48 PM   Subscribe

The snot question got me wondering: Is there a scientific name for boogers? Surely doctors and biologists don't go around talking about coagulated mucosal deposits as "boogers," do they?
posted by brownpau to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
I think the word "mucus" would fit.
posted by squeak at 4:19 PM on February 3, 2005

No, mucus is defined in Webster's Eleventh as "a viscid slippery solution". There must be another word.
posted by interrobang at 4:31 PM on February 3, 2005

Nose candy?
posted by spilon at 4:39 PM on February 3, 2005

Well, we were taught that the components of nasal secretions were mostly water, glycosaminoglycans, and proteoglycans.

When the secretions are particularly dried out so they reach a stony consistency, we call 'em 'inspissated'.

I know that snot what you're looking for.
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:44 PM on February 3, 2005 [2 favorites]

doesn't milkrate's post in that thread pretty well answer this: airway mucus secretions. The fact that the dictionary calls mucous something different has no bearing on what the medical name is.There appears to be no medical subject heading [MeSH] except Bronchi/secretion and Mucus/secretion.
Tracheobronchial secretions are a complex mixture of secretory fluids derived from sources within the lung. Important constituents include the mucous glycoproteins, other secretory proteins, serum proteins, lipids, salts; water makes up 95% of mucus by weight. These secretions form two phases at the epithelial surface: a mucous gel and an aqueous layer (periciliary fluid). Polymerization and aggregation of mucous glycoproteins create the gel matrix. Other macromolecules such as lysozyme, albumin, and immunoglobulin A also may participate in the process of gelation.
posted by jessamyn at 4:46 PM on February 3, 2005

I checked my, "definitions - nurse's reference library" and found this:

mucosa pl. mucosae Mucous membrane. --mucosal, adj.

mucus The viscous, slippery secretions of the mucous membranes and glands containing mucin, white blood cells, water, inorganic salts and exfoliated cells. -- mucoid, adj. mucous, adj.

-mucous A combining form meaning 'containing or composed of mucus': fibromucous

on preview: I thought so too jessamyn.
posted by squeak at 4:57 PM on February 3, 2005

mucus is defined in Webster's Eleventh as "a viscid slippery solution". There must be another word.

Well, they're dried mucus. Dessicated, if you want to get fancy about it.
posted by kindall at 5:04 PM on February 3, 2005

I've heard doctors call the solid ones "crusts" but I'd be suprised if that were the scientific word for them.
posted by contessa at 5:14 PM on February 3, 2005

...Nose goblins, per Stimpy...
posted by nj_subgenius at 5:22 PM on February 3, 2005

Come to think of it, it's probably something really simple, like "dry mucosa".
posted by interrobang at 5:43 PM on February 3, 2005

I asked the doctor who did my sinus surgery what he called them, and he laughed (peculiarly, not like he gets that question all the time, but as though it was one of the few times he'd ever heard it), and suggested (rather than give a definitive answer) "crusting."
posted by kimota at 7:58 PM on February 3, 2005

I've been wondering about this myself. Since there doesn't seem to be an actual term, I propose "rhinolith". (Cf. tonsilolith, another AskMe favorite...)


Drat! That's already taken...
posted by tss at 8:16 PM on February 3, 2005

My wife is a medical student, and in her first year, she once came home and triumphantly informed me that "boogers" was a perfectly acceptible medical term.

The term for buttcrack is "natal cleft", though.
posted by Plutor at 5:54 AM on February 4, 2005

My daughter's pediatrician used the phrase "bilateral rhinorhea" made me bust out laughing as a very obfuscated way to say "two rivers of snot".
posted by plinth at 6:24 AM on February 4, 2005

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