EXAMPLES | WORD ORIGIN 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 forms sphinc·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, -t uh-reyt] /ˈsfɪŋk tər ɪt, -təˌreɪt/ adjective
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 noun anatomy a ring of muscle surrounding the opening of a hollow organ or body and contracting to close it Derived Forms sphincteral, 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
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Word Origin and History for sphincter n.
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
n. 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 forms sphinc null ′ter•al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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.