ric·​tus | \ ˈrik-təs How to pronounce rictus (audio) \

Definition of rictus

1 : the gape of a bird's mouth
2a : the mouth orifice
b : a gaping grin or grimace

Examples of rictus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Their lips burned back to show teeth in a gruesome, sad rictus. Scott Wilson, Washington Post, "In Australia, fires heat up environmental movement," 18 Jan. 2020 Prince’s expression — a rictus of embarrassment, confusion and guilt — belongs in a gallery. A.o. Scott & Wesley Morris, New York Times, "The 10 Best Actors of the Year," 7 Dec. 2017 And there, standing at the bench, his face contorted in a rictus of hateful intensity, was Mike Krzyzewski. Will Blythe, Esquire, "Hating Coach K," 1 Apr. 2010 Watching the way photography froze many of their faces into a rictus of rage was chilling. Wesley Morris, New York Times, "In Movies and on TV, Racism Made Plain," 23 Aug. 2017

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

1685, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for rictus

New Latin, from Latin, open mouth, from ringi to open the mouth; akin to Old Church Slavonic rǫgŭ mockery

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Time Traveler for rictus

Time Traveler

The first known use of rictus was in 1685

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Cite this Entry

“Rictus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rictus. Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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