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Why is that thing below your jawline called an Adam’s apple?

Dear Cecil:

Why do they call that thing below your jawline an Adam's apple? Relative of yours?

Mike and Dave, Chicago

Cecil replies:

You heathens, the Adam in question is everybody’s relative, the ancestor of humankind. It’s called an Adam’s apple because of a legend that a piece of the forbidden fruit got stuck in his throat. Eve, alas, didn’t know the Heimlich maneuver, and the resultant bulge has been passed down to subsequent generations as a sign of male weakness — as if we needed reminding. In reality the Adam’s apple is “the anterior extremity of the thyroid cartilage of the larynx.”

Cecil Adams

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