oxy·​to·​cin | \ ˌäk-si-ˈtō-sᵊn How to pronounce oxytocin (audio) \

Definition of oxytocin

: a pituitary octapeptide hormone C43H66N12O12S2 that stimulates especially the contraction of uterine muscle and the secretion of milk

Examples of oxytocin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her team gave ageing mice a cocktail of oxytocin, a hormone, and ALK5 inhibitor, an enzyme. The Economist, "Uncovering how the body ages is leading to drugs to reverse it," 12 Sep. 2019 And when researchers tried to add extra oxytocin by itself, the hormone’s benefits were overwhelmed by waste accreted in old blood. The Economist, "Uncovering how the body ages is leading to drugs to reverse it," 12 Sep. 2019 The psychoactive drug boosts chemicals like serotonin and oxytocin. Will Stone, Scientific American, "MDMA, Or Ecstasy, Shows Promise As A PTSD Treatment," 21 Aug. 2019 Scientists found that in the brain’s reward system, the density of receptors for oxytocin in the prairie voles was much higher than in montane voles. Sigal Samuel, Vox, "How your brain invents morality," 8 July 2019 There’s also evidence that increased oxytocin (the love and bonding hormone) in female dogs results in increased interactions with their owner, causing a corresponding increase in the owner’s oxytocin levels. Bronwyn Orr, Quartz, "Your stress is hurting your dog, according to a new study," 9 June 2019 For breast milk to be released, there need to be a release of oxytocin, Sargeant says. Amy Haneline, USA TODAY, "Breastfeeding moms are raving about this simple hack to pump more milk," 6 June 2019 Pleasure-causing brain chemicals, among them oxytocin and dopamine, get released by evolutionarily adaptable activities such as mother-child bonding, in-group caring and the praise earned by cooperating with others. Andrew Stark, WSJ, "‘Conscience’ Review: Wired to Care," 12 June 2019 The act of nurturing something can release oxytocin, a hormone related to social bonding. Boston.com Real Estate, "An infatuation with houseplants takes root in the millennial culture," 12 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oxytocin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of oxytocin

1928, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oxytocin

oxytoc(ic) + -in entry 1

Note: According to Science News Letter, vol. 12, no. 341 (October 22, 1927), p. 259, the name was given after pituitary extracts were "obtained in purified form from a single gland by Dr. Oliver Kamm and associates working in the research laboratories of Parke Davis and Company at Detroit."

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The first known use of oxytocin was in 1928

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Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Cite this Entry

“Oxytocin.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oxytocin. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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More Definitions for oxytocin


oxy·​to·​cin | \ -ˈtōs-ᵊn How to pronounce oxytocin (audio) \

Medical Definition of oxytocin

1 : an octapeptide hormone C43H66N12O12S2 secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland that stimulates especially the contraction of uterine muscle and the secretion of milk

called also alpha-hypophamine

2 : a synthetic version of oxytocin used especially to initiate or increase uterine contractions (as in the induction of labor) — see pitocin

More from Merriam-Webster on oxytocin

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oxytocin

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