[ sfingk-ter ]

  1. 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

Other words from sphincter

  • sphinc·ter·al, sphinc·te·ri·al [sfingk-teer-ee-uhl], /sfɪŋkˈtɪər i əl/, sphinc·ter·ic [sfingk-ter-ik], /sfɪŋkˈtɛr ɪk/, sphinc·ter·ate [sfingk-ter-it, -tuh-reyt], /ˈsfɪŋk tər ɪt, -təˌreɪt/, adjective

Words Nearby sphincter

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How to use sphincter in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sphincter


/ (ˈsfɪŋktə) /

  1. anatomy a ring of muscle surrounding the opening of a hollow organ or body and contracting to close it

Origin of sphincter

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

Derived forms of sphincter

  • sphincteral, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for sphincter


[ sfĭngktər ]

  1. 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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