abducens nerve


ab·​du·​cens nerve ab-ˈdü-ˌsenz- How to pronounce abducens nerve (audio)
: either of the sixth pair of cranial nerves that are motor nerves supplying the rectus on the outer and lateral side of each eye

called also abducens

Word History


borrowed from New Latin (nervus) abdūcens, literally, "(nerve) pulling away," in reference to the abducting function of the muscle that the nerve controls; Medieval Latin abdūcens, present participle of abdūcere "to draw (a limb) away from the body" — more at abduct

First Known Use

1947, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of abducens nerve was in 1947

Dictionary Entries Near abducens nerve

Cite this Entry

“Abducens nerve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abducens%20nerve. Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition

abducens nerve

: either of the sixth pair of cranial nerves which are motor nerves, arise beneath the floor of the fourth ventricle, and supply the lateral rectus muscle of each eye

called also abducent nerve, sixth cranial nerve

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