sphincter

noun

sphinc·​ter ˈsfiŋ(k)-tər How to pronounce sphincter (audio)
: an annular muscle surrounding and able to contract or close a bodily opening
sphincteric adjective

Examples of sphincter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For this, the detrusor muscle must contract forcefully to expel urine, while the sphincter muscles surrounding the urethra simultaneously relax to let urine flow out. Emily Underwood, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 June 2024 Both sizes offer neck spirals, helping to keep lube trapped inside your sphincter for many hours at a time. Emma Lowrie, Miami Herald, 23 May 2024 Who are these people, the people with the clipboards and white coats and tight sphincters, who get to decide? Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 14 Mar. 2024 Asthma attacks can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, which lets stomach contents flow back into the esophagus.7 4. Claire Gillespie, Health, 17 Mar. 2024 Most of the time, however, your external sphincter is to blame. Julia Ries, SELF, 12 Feb. 2024 The other common problem is sphincter incontinence. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, 4 Mar. 2024 And that's before getting to the part about the giant beetles who talk through their sphincters, the beetles that turn into typewriters Lee works on, giant bugs that are sliced apart in an open market to become a black powder, and everyday caterpillars, just to name a few. Sarah Sprague, EW.com, 19 Oct. 2023 Those are probably marks from the anal sphincter, Chin explains. Karen Wright, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sphincter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Late Latin, from Greek sphinktēr, literally, band, from sphingein to bind tight

First Known Use

1578, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sphincter was in 1578

Dictionary Entries Near sphincter

Cite this Entry

“Sphincter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sphincter. Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

sphincter

noun
sphinc·​ter ˈsfiŋ(k)-tər How to pronounce sphincter (audio)
: a ringlike muscle surrounding a body opening that is able to make the opening smaller or close it

Medical Definition

sphincter

noun
sphinc·​ter ˈsfiŋ(k)-tər How to pronounce sphincter (audio)
: an annular muscle surrounding and able to contract or close a bodily opening see anal sphincter, cardiac sphincter, precapillary sphincter, pyloric sphincter
sphincteral adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on sphincter

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