List of mnemonics for the cranial nerves
|Editing of this article by new or unregistered users is currently disabled until May 26, 2013 due to vandalism.
See the protection policy and protection log for more details. If you cannot edit this article and you wish to make a change, you can request an edit, discuss changes on the talk page, request unprotection, log in, or create an account.
|CN I – Olfactory|
|CN II – Optic|
|CN III – Oculomotor|
|CN IV – Trochlear|
|CN V – Trigeminal|
|CN VI – Abducens|
|CN VII – Facial|
|CN VIII – Vestibulocochlear|
|CN IX – Glossopharyngeal|
|CN X – Vagus|
|CN XI – Accessory|
|CN XII – Hypoglossal|
As one author has noted, "Generations of biology and medical students have relied on mnemonic (memory-aiding) phrases and ditties, ranging from sublimely silly to the unprintably ribald, to help them remember the cranial nerves..."
The cranial nerves are:
- I - Olfactory nerve
- II - Optic nerve
- III - Oculomotor nerve
- IV - Trochlear nerve
- V - Trigeminal nerve/dentist nerve
- VI - Abducens nerve
- VII - Facial nerve
- VIII - Vestibulocochlear nerve/Auditory nerve
- IX - Glossopharyngeal nerve
- X - Vagus nerve
- XI - Accessory nerve/Spinal accessory nerve
- XII - Hypoglossal nerve
"Clean" Mnemonics for the nerves
A mnemonic uses, at the least, the first letter of each of the 12 nerves, in order. Examples listed below are those that have been published in textbooks or otherwise propagated as noted:
- Odor Of Orangutan Terrified Tarzan After Forty Voracious Gorillas Viciously Attacked Him (Adopted at Duke University Medical School after a student contest c.1980 when the auditory nerve was renamed the vestibulocochlear nerve)
- Old Open Oceans Trouble Tribesmen About Far Ventures, Global Vacations, Accusing Hydrophobia
- Orange Oregon O-lineman Tried Track And Field, Victory Gave Virginia School Honor
- On Occasion Our Trusty Truck Acts Funny, Very Good Vehicle Any How
- Once One Openly Told Tourists About Fighting Vampires Gobling Various Antelope Herds
- On Old Olympus' Towering Top, A Friendly Viking Grew Vines And Hops
- Oh, Oh, Oh, To Take A Family Vacation! Go Vegas After Hours
- Only Owls Observe Them Traveling And Finding Voldemort Guarding Very Secret Horcruxes
- Old Opie Occasionally Tries Trigonometry And Feels Very Gloomy, Vague And Hypoactive
- Old Oprah Occasionally Trots Triumphantly About, Farting Velveeta Globs, Vaunting Accolades Hysterically
- Old Oprah Occasionally Trots Triumphantly About, Farting Velveeta Globs, Valiantly Spreading Hysteria
- Oh, Oh, Oh, To Touch And Feel Vintage Green Velvet, Simply Heaven
- Old, Oliver, Ogg, Traveled, To, Africa, For, Very, Good, Vacations, And, Holidays
- Once On October Thirteenth, Troublesome Abductors Filched Various Golden Valuables And Heirlooms
- Oprah Ought Order Tasty Treats And Finally Value Growing Voluptuous And Happy
- Old Officers Often Trust The Army For A Glory Vague And Hypothetical
- Old Oppressive Oceanic Trout Trick Aquatic Fauna Very Greedily; Valiant Sharks Hunt (them).
- Oh Once One Takes The Anatomy Final, Very Good Vacations Are Heavenly.
"Dirty" Mnemonics for the nerves
- Oh, Oh, Oh, To Touch And Feel Virgin Girl's Vagina And Hymen
- Oh, Oh, Oh, To Touch And Feel Vagina God Vaginas Are Hot
- Oh, Oh, Oh, To Touch And Feel A Guy's Vein And Hotdog
- On Occasion, Oliver Tries To Anally Finger Various Guys. Vaginas Are History!
Mnemonics for the type of nerve
Mnemonics for the type of nerve or its function rely upon the letters S, M and B for sensory, motor or both. The mnemonics to remember the types of cranial nerves can be chosen from:
S = Sensory
M = Motor
B = Both (sensory + motor)
A common mnemonic for the functions of the first through twelfth nerves, is "Some Say Marry Money, But My Brother Says Big Business Makes Money." 
Another common variation of this is "Some Say Marry Money, But My Brother Says Big Brains Matter Most," which appears to be a bowdlerized version of the common "Some Say Marry Money, But My Brother Says Big Breasts Matter Most."
- Silly Superman Made Mortal Brothers Make Bets Since Both Boys Made Money"
- Some Say Money Matters, But My Beloved Says Being Beloved Matters More."
Or to include the three Trigeminal branches: Some say money matters, some say banks, my brother says big brains matter most.
Mnemonics for the foramina
To remember the skull foramina (plural of foramen) from which exit the 12 cranial nerves, the following statements may be used:
- Cleaners Only Spray Smelly Stuff Right On Smelly Idiots In J. Jonah Jameson High
- Carl Only Swims South. Silly Roger Only Swims In Infiniti Jacuzzis. Jane Just Hitchhikes.
- Carlos Only Smokes Spliff Since Rastaman Offered Skunk In Indigenous Jamaica. Jamaican Joint Heaven.
- Come Over Soon Soon Soon Ride On Some Intense Internal vaJJJ Ha!
- for Cribriform plate (Olfactory), Optic canal (Optic), Superior Orbital Fissure (Oculomotor), Superior Orbital Fissure (Trochlear), Superior Orbital Fissure (Trigeminal - Ophthalmic), Foramen Rotundum (Trigeminal - Maxillary), Foramen Ovale (Trigeminal - Mandibular), Superior Orbital Fissure (Abducens), Internal Acoustic Meatus (Facial), Internal Acoustic Meatus (Vestibulocochlear), Jugular Foramen (Glossopharyngeal), Jugular Foramen (Vagus), Jugular Foramen (Accessory), Hypoglossal Canal (Hypoglossal)
Mnemonics for Function
You have one nose, so the olfactory nerve is CN I, and it controls the sense of smell and innervates the nose.
You have two eyes, so the optic nerve is CN II, which functions to produce vision.
CN VII: A mnemonic for the names of the five branches of the Facial nerve is To Zanzibar By Motor Car, where the five branches are the Temporal, Zygomatic, Buccal, Mandibular and Cervical branches.
The number 8 resembles an ear, so CN VIII, the vestibulocochlear/acoustic nerve is a sensory nerve for hearing.
The number 11 can resemble a pair of arms or shoulders, and CN XI innervates the sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscles and controls shoulder and neck movements.
The saying The tongue licks the wound is a reminder that when the hypoglossal nerve (CNXII) is damaged, the tongue deviates to the same side of a lesion to the cranial nerve. (eg, if the tongue deviates to the right, the right side of CNXII is damaged).
- Saladin, Kenneth (2007). Human Anatomy. Rex Bookstore. p. 440.
- Thibodeau, Gary (2007). Anatomy & Physiology. St. Louis MO: Mosby / Elsevier. ISBN 9780323037181.
- Rosdah, Caroline; Kowalski, Mary (2007). Textbook of Basic Nursing. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 194.
- Henderson, Beverley; Dorsey, Jennifer (2008). Medical Terminology for Dummies. For Dummies.