What is the name of the area that is between the nose and the upper lip, circled in figure 1 below?

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source of face image

I have found that the area circled in figure 2, the small indentation under the nose, is called the "philtrum," which is what the many searches I have tried have yielded, but I cannot figure out what the entire area is called.

3 Answers 3


The upper lip, the image below is from the wiki entry on philtrum.

Image of the Face

  • 2
    Okay, but then what is the "top half" of the lip called? The "upper lip" seems to me that it is referring to the part of the lip right above the mouth.
    – Doorknob
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 2:23
  • 8
    @Doorknob - Elliot has named it correctly. The upper lip is skin-covered, skin-colored, and hairy. The pink parts are called the upper and lower vermilion, the border between the skin and the vermilion is called the vermilion border, the wet, shiny inner portion of what people call the "lips" is called the wet vermilion or the mucosa. So, you see, Elliot has given you the accurate response. How do I know? From studying the anatomy of the lips, having had to suture lip lacerations about a couple hundred times. Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 2:38
  • 1
    Actually, OP is asking the name of the upper half of the upper lip. There is no specific name for that.
    – ermanen
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 3:44
  • 2
    It is sometimes called "upper cutaneous lip" or "cutaneous upper lip" though. Because that is the skin part of the upper lip.
    – ermanen
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 4:02
  • 1
    @medica: I don't think so. Upper lip = upper skin part + upper vermilion
    – ermanen
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 4:31

This is an interesting question because there is no simple answer. One of the challenges in answering it is that 'lips' and 'lower/upper lip' refer to different things.


There seems to be broad agreement on what 'lips' (plural) means. They refer to the pink part, which you'd apply lip balsem or lipstick to.

Upper lip, lower lip

There is less agreement about 'lower/upper lip'. The accepted definition is that these words refer to both the pink and the skin-colored part. But this is a larger area than what 'lips' means, so that obviously leads to confusion, because a lot of people use 'upper/lower lip' to refer to only the pink part.

Cutaneous lip

So, we've been talking about 'just the pink part' and 'both the pink part and the skin-colored part'. What about 'just the skin-colored part'? In colloquial English, there is no dedicated word for that. So let's settle for a scientific or medical term. "The skin-colored part of the lip" is called the cutaneous lip.

So the best answer to the original question would be cutaneous upper lip.


  • Lips usually refer to just the 'pink' parts.
  • Lip usually refers to a larger area:
  • Upper lip is everything between the mouth opening and the base of the nose.
  • Lower lip is everything between the mouth opening and the chin.
  • Vermilion zone is the pink, non-wet part of the lips.
  • Cutaneous lip is the skin-colored part of the lips.
  • Philtrum is a vertical subsection of the cutaneous upper lip, between the ridges under the nose.

Yes, there is. I believe the pronunciation is the following: Ahm bro shwah

The actual word is spelled embouchure. Trumpet players refer to this... (you can spot dentures because they have a flat ahm bro shwah.)

  • 4
    You're thinking of embrochure, and that refers to the shape of the entire mouth, not simply the upper lip.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 19:39
  • 4
    Embouchure, not embrochure.
    – phenry
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 20:19

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