[ rik-tuh s ]
/ ˈrɪk təs /

noun, plural ric·tus, ric·tus·es.

the gape of the mouth of a bird.
the gaping or opening of the mouth.

Origin of rictus

1750–60; < Latin: wide-open mouth, equivalent to rig-, variant stem of ringī to open the mouth wide + -tus suffix of v. action.

Related forms

ric·tal, adjectivesub·ric·tal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rictus

British Dictionary definitions for rictus


/ (ˈrɪktəs) /

noun plural -tus or -tuses

the gap or cleft of an open mouth or beak
a fixed or unnatural grin or grimace, as in horror or death

Derived Forms

rictal, adjective

Word Origin for rictus

C18: from Latin, from ringī to gape
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