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 Many scientists believe this sensitization involves oxytocin, a hormone made in the hypothalamus. Dina Litovsky, Smithsonian Magazine, "The New Science of Motherhood," 22 Apr. 2021 There's yet another benefit of oxytocin released during a stress response, according to McGonigal. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Stress can be good for you, and here's why," 1 Apr. 2021 Smuggling, price-gouging, dognapping and heavy doses of oxytocin—in the world of Big Puppy, it’s dog-eat-dog. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Despite recent stumbles, stocks are up nearly 75% in the past year," 24 Mar. 2021 Studies show interacting with any animal can reduce stress by boosting oxytocin, which is why they’re so often used in therapy. Karina Bland, The Arizona Republic, "Among these misfit animals, there's peace and healing (and some cow hugging)," 19 Feb. 2021 In a previous study, Dr. Powell’s group had shown that owning a dog promotes the flow of oxytocin, a hormone that decreases our heart rate and fosters feelings of well-being and relaxation. Susan Pinker, WSJ, "Do Dogs Really Make Us Happier?," 30 Dec. 2020 Stroking a pet, for example, releases oxytocin, the hormone involved in bonding and feeling safe. Annie Vainshtein, SFChronicle.com, "Here’s what the election is doing to your brain," 5 Nov. 2020 Hug family members within your bubble — hugs promote the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps regulate stress — and make plans with friends to occupy your mind. Katherine Cusumano, New York Times, "Don’t Give In to ‘Election Stress Disorder’," 31 Oct. 2020 As a result, your brain releases a chemical called oxytocin. Hannah Malach, Good Housekeeping, "How Listening to Podcasts Can Benefit Your Brain," 22 Sep. 2020

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

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oxytocin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oxytocin. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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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