rec·​tus | \ ˈrek-təs \
plural recti\ ˈrek-​ˌtī , -​ˌtē \

Definition of rectus 

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

Examples of rectus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

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, "This Triceps Move From Chelsea Handler's Trainer Doubles as a Killer Core Exercise," 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, "2 Challenging Core Moves From Pink’s Trainer That Will Work Your Abs From All Angles," 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, "Work Your Core, Arms, and Chest With This Push-Up Variation From J. Lo's Trainer," 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,, "How Come Baby Bumps Can Look So Different From One Woman to Another?," 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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The first known use of rectus was in 1615

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More Definitions for rectus


rec·​tus | \ ˈrek-təs \
plural recti\ -​ˌtī \

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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