re·​trac·​tor | \ ri-ˈtrak-tər How to pronounce retractor (audio) \

Definition of retractor

: one that retracts: such as
a : a surgical instrument for holding open the edges of a wound
b : a muscle that draws in an organ or part

Examples of retractor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

One, called the retractor anguli oculi lateralis muscle, pulls the side of the eyes toward the ears. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "We may have inadvertently selected for muscles on dogs’ faces," 18 June 2019 Similarly, the retractor anguli oculi lateralis muscle (RAOL) is developed in all dogs but Siberian huskies, who are more closely related to wolves than other breeds. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Why you think your dog loves you," 18 June 2019 Another muscle, called the retractor anguli oculi lateralis or RAOM, which pulls the eyelids toward the ears, was well developed in all the dogs except the husky, a breed with an ancient lineage. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Dogs Evolved a Special Muscle That Lets Them Make ‘Puppy Dog Eyes’," 18 June 2019 All other facial muscles around the eyes were the same across species, except for the retractor anguli oculi lateralis muscle, which pulls the corners of the eyelids toward the ears. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "Dogs may have evolved with 'puppy dog eyes' to communicate with humans, study finds," 17 June 2019 And all dogs except a Siberian husky—an ancient breed—sported a robust retractor anguli oculi lateralis muscle, which widens the eyes by pulling the eyelids towards the ears. David Grimm, Science | AAAS, "We may have helped give our canine pals ‘puppy dog eyes’," 17 June 2019 Key differences During conventional knee replacement surgery, the knee is in a position of hyperflexion with retractors pulling the kneecap. Orthocincy,, "Stem cell injections or knee replacement," 4 June 2018 One surgery was canceled after the patient was already under anesthesia because a retractor was unavailable — it had not been sterilized since its last use a week earlier. Donovan Slack, USA TODAY, "6 eye-popping findings from an investigation of the Washington D.C. VA medical center," 7 Mar. 2018 La Grange Hospital donated extra supplies, including retractors and surgical stapling devices. Kimberly Fornek,, "Brookfield Zoo orangutan recovering after appendectomy by La Grange Hospital surgeons," 16 Feb. 2018

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

1615, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for retractor

Last Updated

27 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for retractor

The first known use of retractor was in 1615

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More Definitions for retractor


re·​trac·​tor | \ ri-ˈtrak-tər How to pronounce retractor (audio) \

Medical Definition of retractor

: one that retracts: as
a : any of various surgical instruments for holding tissues away from the field of operation
b : a muscle that draws in an organ or part — compare protractor

More from Merriam-Webster on retractor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retractor

Britannica English: Translation of retractor for Arabic Speakers

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