Genioglossus Muscle: Origin, Action & Insertion

Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition and Anatomy courses for over 5 years. He has a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from Furman University and a M.S. in Dietetics & Nutrition from Florida International University. He is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C)

The genioglossus muscle is one of the muscles in the mouth associated with the tongue. In this lesson, learn about the definition, innervation, and function of the genioglossus muscle.

Genioglossus Muscle

What do Gene Simmons, lead singer for the band KISS, and an upset four-year-old have in common? If you said that they are both known to stick out their tongues, you are correct.

While performing his famous songs on stage, Gene Simmons will often stick out his tongue, and as you know, upset children have been known to stick their tongues out at people they do not like. Did you know that both Gene Simmons and an upset four-year-old have to use their genioglossus muscle in order to stick out their tongues?


Gene Simmons, lead singer for the band KISS, is known to stick his tongue out while he performs.
gene simmons


The genioglossus muscle is a fan-shaped extrinsic muscle of the tongue. Extrinsic muscles of the tongue refer to muscles that attach to the tongue and function to move the tongue.


The genioglossus muscle is a fan-shaped muscle in the mouth associated with the tongue.
genioglossus muscle


Genioglossus Muscle: Origin

The origin of a muscle is the location of the body where the muscle begins or starts. The genioglossus muscle originates from the back part of the symphysis menti, which is the line in the front middle of the mandible (lower jawbone) located at the chin. The first part of the name genioglossus comes from the Greek word genion which means chin, a reference to the origin of this muscle.


The genioglossus muscle originates from the symphysis menti, a line in the middle of the chin.
symphysis menti


Genioglossus Muscle: Insertion

The insertion point of a muscle is the location of the body to which the muscle attaches and is the ending point of the muscle. The genioglossus muscle inserts to two different places. Part of the genioglossus muscle attaches to the hyoid bone, which is a horseshoe-shaped bone located in the middle, front part of the throat above the larynx or voice box.

The remaining part of the genioglossus muscle actually meshes together with the muscles throughout the entire length of the tongue, from tip to base. The last part of the name genioglossus comes from the Greek word glossa which means tongue, a reference to this insertion point of the muscle.


Part of the genioglossus muscle attaches to the hyoid bone, a horse.
hyoid bone


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