noun Anatomy.

a circular band of voluntary or involuntary muscle that encircles an orifice of the body or one of its hollow organs.

Origin of sphincter

1570–80; < Late Latin < Greek sphinktḗr, equivalent to sphing-, base of sphíngein to hold tight + -tēr suffix denoting agent
Related formssphinc·ter·al, sphinc·te·ri·al [sfingk-teer-ee-uh l] /sfɪŋkˈtɪər i əl/, sphinc·ter·ic [sfingk-ter-ik] /sfɪŋkˈtɛr ɪk/, sphinc·ter·ate [sfingk-ter-it, -tuh-reyt] /ˈsfɪŋk tər ɪt, -təˌreɪt/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sphincter

Historical Examples of sphincter

British Dictionary definitions for sphincter



anatomy a ring of muscle surrounding the opening of a hollow organ or body and contracting to close it
Derived Formssphincteral, adjective

Word Origin for sphincter

C16: from Late Latin, from Greek sphinkter, from sphingein to grip tightly
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

Word Origin and History for sphincter

1570s, from Middle French sphincter, from Late Latin sphincter "contractile muscle," from Greek sphinkter "band, anything that binds tight," from sphingein "to squeeze, bind," of unknown origin. First used in anatomical sense by Galen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sphincter in Medicine




A ringlike muscle that normally maintains constriction of a body passage or orifice and that relaxes as required by normal physiological functioning.anatomical sphincter
Related formssphincter•al null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

sphincter in Science



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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.