Sphincter definition

sfĭngktər
Frequency:
A ring-shaped muscle that encircles an opening or passage in the body. The opening and closing of the anus is controlled by contraction and relaxation of a sphincter, as is the opening that leads to the stomach from the esophagus.
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A ringlike muscle that normally maintains constriction of a body passage or orifice and that relaxes as required by normal physiological functioning.
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(anat.) A ring-shaped muscle that surrounds a natural opening in the body and can open or close it by expanding or contracting.
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A ringlike muscle that normally maintains constriction of a body passage or orifice and that relaxes as required by normal physiological functioning.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
sphincter
Plural:
sphincters

Origin of sphincter

  • Late Latin sphinctēr from Greek sphinktēr from sphingein to bind tight

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition