If the adjective relating to the nose is nasal then what is the adjective relating to the ear?

I don't think it's "aural". I think it begins with ot-.

  • 1
    Easel sounds right - "Nose is to nasal, as ear is to easel" - but means a painters support. Sep 6 '11 at 16:03
  • At the risk of muddying the waters even more on this one, let's not forget rhinal and rhinarial. I'm sure millions of people would get those just because of Tom's Rhinoplasty on South Park. Sep 7 '11 at 23:06

I suppose the word you are looking for specifically, is "otic":

of, relating/pertaining to, or located near the ear

One could therefore say: "Nose" is to "nasal", as "ear" is to "otic."

Additionally, although "aural" is commonly associated with "sound", "aural" can also be used to refer to pertaining to the ear:

of or pertaining to the ear.

This can be compared to "nasal":

Of or pertaining to the nose.

One could therefore also say: "Nose" is to "nasal", as "ear" is to "aural"

  • 14
    Nose:nasal:olfactory, Ear:otic:aural. It depends on whether you're talking about the sense organ itself, or the type of stimulus it responds to. Sep 6 '11 at 11:29
  • +1 otic is correct. If you have seasonal allergies, you get a nasal spray. If you get "Swimmer's ear," you can go to the pharmacy and get otic drops.
    – rajah9
    Sep 6 '11 at 13:38
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers: That is strange. Going by the Latin, these words should have the following meanings: nasal = of the nose; olfactory = smelling; otic = of the ear (from Greek ous, "ear"); aural = of the ear (slightly malformed, from Latin auris, "ear"). I'd say olfactory ~ auditory/auditive. Sep 6 '11 at 14:49
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    @Cerberus: You're probably right in that if these words had evolved along the "most obvious" lines, the word OP seeks probably would have been aural. Time and chance, and all that. But on reflection now I don't think it's even that good for the triplet I posted, because it's an exceptionally vague word anyway (it's used of sound, ears, and auras, as well as being - ironically - misheard for/against oral). A better choice would probably have been Ear:otic:auditory. Sep 7 '11 at 22:52
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    @Fumble: I agree on both accounts! Especially the on-going battle against the evils of vague spiritualism strike a chord. To clarity! And rationalism! I'm slightly tipsy now, but you may keep me to it in the morning. Sep 8 '11 at 0:16

I suggest using "auricular":

Of, relating to, or using the ear or the sense of hearing.

Like "nasal", which is derived from Latin "nasus" (nose), "auricular" is also derived from Latin "auricula" (ear). However, "otic" has a Greek root.

  • Auricular is often used in biological/medical contexts, and might well be preferred for "everyday" use on the grounds that it's likely to be understood by more people than will know otic. If only because they can extend from the less-than-ideal aural, which they might know purely because they've learned to watch out for that one in case of confusion with oral. Sep 7 '11 at 23:02

Depending on the context, "auditory" might be the right word. For example "auditory canal" would be analogous to "nasal passages".


Auditory is your word.


Of or relating to the sense of hearing: "the auditory nerves".

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