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This is an oval shaped opening at the posterior base of the greater wing just lateral to the lingula. It opens superior to inferior, as the passage for the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve on its course to the lower facial region. The accessory meningeal artery, and occasionally the lesser petrosal nerves, also access this foramen.
Foramen is the Latin term designating a hole-like opening. It is from the Latin forare meaning to bore or perforate. Ovale is Latin for oval, because of the oval shape of this hole.