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 The seat belt retractor block out zone may have not been set correctly, potentially resulting in a seat belt that may not properly secure the occupant. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for June 25-July 2," 3 July 2020 Other retractors take a harder line with the formula, which contains sodium lauryl sulfate — a surfactant that works to clean your skin. Maria Del Russo, Washington Post, "The Internet has strong feelings about these skin-care products. We asked pros to weigh in.," 24 Feb. 2020 The lead surgeon, Dr. Malcolm O. Perry II, asked Dr. McClelland to assist in an emergency tracheotomy, and Dr. McClelland inserted a retractor into the incision that Dr. Perry had made in Kennedy’s neck to help accommodate a breathing tube. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, "Dr. Robert McClelland, Who Tried to Save President Kennedy, Dies at 89," 24 Sep. 2019 To install with a seat belt, make sure the seat belt’s retractor is in the locked position, preventing the car seat from moving. Jennifer Geiger, USA TODAY, "That's not how any of this works! We call B.S. on car seat safety myths," 15 July 2019 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

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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The first known use of retractor was in 1615

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Statistics for retractor

Last Updated

12 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Retractor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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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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