oxytocin

noun
oxy·to·cin | \ˌäk-si-ˈtō-sᵊn \

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

Lab tests later revealed that Hrdy’s levels of a brain chemical called oxytocin spiked by 63 percent that evening. National Geographic, "Is Maternal Instinct Only for Moms? Here's the Science.," 9 May 2018 In 2015, Marlin co-authored a study in the journal Nature on the effect oxytocin had on mice. National Geographic, "Is Maternal Instinct Only for Moms? Here's the Science.," 9 May 2018 Furthermore, only 50% of the cats studied produced any oxytocin at all. Bridget Mallon, ELLE Decor, "Who Loves Their Owners More: Cats Or Dogs?," 2 Feb. 2016 But for men and women, oxytocin levels rise and fall throughout the day, largely in response to such social cues as a baby's cry or the sight of one's dog. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "Is vasopressin what's lacking in the brains of those with autism?," 3 May 2018 In addition to dopamine itself, neurochemicals such as oxytocin can significantly alter the sense of reward and pleasure, especially in relationship to social interactions, by modulating these mesolimbic circuits. Leslie Henderson, Scientific American, "Why Our Brains See the World as "Us" versus "Them"," 22 June 2018 Our bodies secrete hormones like oxytocin on contact that reinforces the bond, to help us attach and connect,’’ Fortuna said. William Wan, BostonGlobe.com, "What separation from parents does to children: ‘The effect is catastrophic’," 19 June 2018 At the same time, individuals may release dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin, which can help improve mood. Washington Post, "Doctors are taught early about patient histories. Is it time for different questions?," 28 Apr. 2018 In girls and women, the hormone oxytocin is powerful in promoting nurturing behavior and trust. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "Is vasopressin what's lacking in the brains of those with autism?," 3 May 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of oxytocin

1928, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oxytocin

International Scientific Vocabulary, from oxytocic

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about oxytocin

Statistics for oxytocin

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oxytocin

The first known use of oxytocin was in 1928

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for oxytocin

oxytocin

noun
oxy·to·cin | \-ˈtōs-ᵊn \

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

Comments on oxytocin

What made you want to look up oxytocin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!