Difference Between Mucus and Mucous

Mucus vs Mucous

Mucus and mucous are two terms associated with physiology of organisms. Here, the mucus is the ‘noun’ and mucous is the ‘adjective’, which used to describe the terms related to mucus. Usually mucus is found inside the body of vertebrates. However, mucus can be found externally in some vertebrates such as bony fish, hagfish, and invertebrates like snails and slugs.


Mucus is a viscoelastic, nonhomogenous fluid found in vertebrates. It is basically composed of watery matrix that contains glycoproteins, proteins, and lipids. Mucus is produced by mucous cells, which resemble to make mucous membrane. Mucous fluid is produced by the cells found in mucous glands. Mucous membranes can be found in the mouth, nose, sinuses, throat, trachea, and gastrointestinal tract in the human body. Mucus serves as a protective blanket over the cell linings and keeps biological surfaces wet. It also helps to remove unwanted bacteria and other foreign particles from the body. In certain organisms, mucus helps to protect toxins produced by their predators and facilitates movements. In addition, mucus is important in communication, as well.


Mucous is an adjective that describes the containing, producing, or secreting of mucus. In addition, it also used to describe the terms related to consisting or resembling of mucus. For example, when we describe the production of mucus, we used the term ‘mucous membrane’. Likewise, we can use terms like mucous glands, mucous fluid, mucous production etc., to describe the physiology of mucus.

What is the difference between Mucus and Mucous?

• The term ‘mucus’ is a noun, whereas ‘mucous’ is an adjective.

• Mucus is a slippery thick fluid produced by organisms, whereas the term ‘mucous’ describes the physiological features of mucus such as its production, consisting, resembling etc.


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