Fun Fact: philtrum

Anatomy def: Vertical groove extending from tubercle of upper lip to nasal septum.

Outlander def: Jamie’s splendid, Claire-kissed love charm.

Learn about the philtrum in Anatomy Lesson #14, Anatomy of a Kiss!

The human philtrum is a shallow groove extending from upper lip to nose. The groove is flanked on each side by a philtral pillar, a vertical  ridge of skin arising from each peak of our upper lip. Depth and width of the philtrum varies considerably among humans.

Wooie! Jamie’s philtrum is especially handsome because his upper lip forms a beautiful Cupid’s bow. The unpaired lip tubercle lies at the center of the bow with twin peaks of his upper lip on either side.  A philtral pillar arises from each lip peak and ascends toward the nasal septum.   Sharp lip peaks typically produce marked philtral pillars. The more defined the philtral pillars, the deeper the philtrum. Got it? Yay!

Although the philtrum is vestigial in humans, in animals such as dogs, it is a deep channel designed to direct odorants from mouth to smell receptors of the nose.  

An interesting tradition about the human philtrum is expressed in the 1948 film, Key Largo. Frank (Hah! Frank is everywhere!) McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) tells a child, that before birth, the soul knows all the secrets of heaven, but at birth an angel presses a fingertip just above one’s lip, which seals it to silence. Ta da. The resulting depression is the philtrum!

Kudos to the casting folk who chose Bree’s actor very well as in the books, the lass looks like her da’.  And, a facial feature both actors share in common is the appearance of the philtrum!

Read about the philtrum??? Alas, Diana does not specifically write about the philtrum in her books, but she does write about the lips.  Consider this provocative quote from Outlander book:

“He leaned down and gently fitted his mouth over mine. I had kissed my share of men…Jamie, though, was something different. His extreme gentleness was in no way tentative; rather it was a promise of power known and held in leash; a challenge and a provocation the more remarkable for its lack of demand. I am yours, it said. And if you will have me, then…I would, and my mouth opened beneath his…”

See Jamie and Bree’s philtra (pl.) in Starz ep 410, The Deep Heart’s Core! Yep, these two share philtral genes! As LJG would say, “Some sires stamp their get!”


A deeply grateful, Outlander Anatomist

Photo Credits: Starz


11 Replies to “Fun Fact: philtrum”

  1. I think everything about Sam is sexy. I bet this group would think the webbing between his toes is hot 😉

  2. Sam/ Jamie mouth and lips are well designed.
    I dare to classify Sam Heughan and his character Jamie Fraser is top1 sexiest mouth, lips and kisses.

  3. Ssm/ Jamie mouth and lips are well designed.
    I dare to classify Sam Heughan and his character Jamie Fraser is top1 sexiest mouth, lips and kisses.

  4. Jamie/Sam has the most kissable mouth. I dont believe there is any woman could resist his kiss, others then women also..I have been going to movies for 65 years and have always been intrigued by the kiss, first or last and any between. J/S is in the top 3 of all I have seen, and I have seen a lot..

    1. Hi Pepper! TY for your comment. I agree completely with your analysis. J/S mouth and lips are just stunning! Hard to keep my eyes off them. Just curious but who are the other two of your top three? 🙂

  5. Thanks so very much for this post! (While I was aware of the folklore re the ‘angel’s touch’ , I had forgotten the reference in Key Largo – loved that film!). I am most appreciative of this response to my having confessed outright adoration of *Jamie’s fabulous philtrum! x

    1. You are most welcome, Susan, for the post. The folklore has been traced to the Jewish tradition although, now it is more widespread. YOu are in good company, as I think there is an army of fans who adore Jamie’s fabulous philtrum. Such a wonderful love charm!

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