a person or thing that retracts.
Anatomy. a muscle that retracts an organ or protruded part.
Surgery. an instrument or appliance for drawing back an impeding part, as the edge of an incision.
a mechanism, device, or the like that regulates retraction: to adjust the retractor on a seat belt.

Origin of retractor

First recorded in 1830–40; retract1 + -or2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for retractor

Historical Examples of retractor

  • These consist of four straight muscles, two oblique, and one retractor.

    Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

    United States Department of Agriculture

  • Paresi took tweezers, a retractor, two scalpels and a hypodermic case out of the kit and laid them in a neat row on the bunk.

    Breaking Point

    James E. Gunn

  • Scotty pulled the retractor of his rifle and a cartridge rammed into the firing chamber.

    The Golden Skull

    John Blaine

  • There is, however, another muscle—the Retractor oculi—belonging to the same group which is innervated by the VIth nerve.

    The Origin of Vertebrates

    Walter Holbrook Gaskell

  • Its edge is then drawn slightly outwards by means of a retractor and separated from the underlying deep fascia.

British Dictionary definitions for retractor



anatomy any of various muscles that retract an organ or part
surgery an instrument for holding back the edges of a surgical incision or organ or part
a person or thing that retracts
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medicine definitions for retractor




A surgical instrument used to hold back organs or the edges of an incision.
A muscle, such as a flexor, that retracts an organ or a part.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.