- 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for rictus
The lovely lips twisted into a rictus sneer, frightening on that smooth young face, until she got them under control.The Tunnel Under The World
Then his mouth twisted in a rictus of dreadful mirth, so wrung was he with pain, yet so overcome by what he had seen.The Terms of Surrender
His gold tooth, gleaming in the light, made his rictus of passion more venomous, more malevolent still.The Air Trust
George Allan England
He only stood and smiled—that awful smile which expressed more anguish than any rictus of pain.The Side Of The Angels
The sensation of gaiety due to the sudden shock caused by the rictus of Gwynplaine was evidently not intended by Ursus.The Man Who Laughs
- the gap or cleft of an open mouth or beak
- a fixed or unnatural grin or grimace, as in horror or death
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