rec·​tus | \ ˈrek-təs How to pronounce rectus (audio) \
plural recti\ ˈrek-​ˌtī How to pronounce rectus (audio) , -​ˌtē \

Definition of rectus

: any of several straight muscles (as of the abdomen)

Examples of rectus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Crunches work your rectus abdominis (the long, flat muscle on the front of your torso), plus your internal and external obliques (the muscles that wrap around the side of your body). Amy Eisinger, M.a., SELF, 29 Dec. 2020 This core-centric move targets the rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis (a deep core muscle that wraps around the sides and spine) as well as the inner and outer thighs, says Mansour. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, 14 Mar. 2019 Targets the core, especially the rectus abdominis and obliques. 6. SELF, 18 Jan. 2019 In addition to the triceps work, the list of muscles working here includes rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and internal and external obliques. Leah Prinzivalli, SELF, 2 May 2018 This move works both the internal and external obliques as well as the transverse and rectus abdominis, says Mansour. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, 6 Apr. 2018 Within your core, this push-up variation specifically targets your obliques (the muscles on the side of your abdomen) as well as your rectus abdominis (aka, your abs, the muscles that run vertically on your abdomen). Jenny Mccoy, SELF, 6 Mar. 2018 Another factor that can affect the size of a woman's bump is a condition called diastasis recti, which is when the left and right sides of the rectus abdomens muscles separate. Jessica Migala,, 26 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rectus.' 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 rectus

1615, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rectus

New Latin, from rectus musculus straight muscle

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rectus in curia

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Cite this Entry

“Rectus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for rectus


rec·​tus | \ ˈrek-təs How to pronounce rectus (audio) \
plural recti\ -​ˌtī How to pronounce rectus (audio) \

Medical Definition of rectus

1 : any of several straight muscles (as the rectus abdominis or the rectus femoris)
2 : any of four extraocular muscles of the eyeball that arise from the border of the optic foramen and run forward to insert into the sclera of the eyeball:
a : one that is the thinnest and narrowest and inserts into the superior aspect of the sclera

called also rectus superior, superior rectus

b : one that is the longest, arises by two heads, and inserts into the lateral aspect of the sclera

called also lateral rectus, rectus lateralis

c : one that is the broadest and inserts into the medial aspect of the sclera

called also medial rectus, rectus medialis

d : one that inserts into the inferior aspect of the sclera

called also inferior rectus, rectus inferior


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