pterygoid muscle


Medical Definition of pterygoid muscle

: either of two muscles extending from the sphenoid bone to the lower jaw:
a : a muscle that arises from the greater wing of the sphenoid bone and from the outer surface of the lateral pterygoid plate, is inserted into the condyle of the mandible and the articular disk of the temporomandibular joint, and acts as an antagonist of the masseter, temporalis, and medial pterygoid muscles

called also external pterygoid muscle, lateral pterygoid muscle

b : a muscle that arises from the inner surface of the lateral pterygoid plate and from the palatine and maxillary bones, is inserted into the ramus and the gonial angle, cooperates with the masseter and temporalis in elevating the lower jaw, and controls certain lateral and rotary movements of the jaw

called also internal pterygoid muscle, medial pterygoid muscle

Learn More about pterygoid muscle

Cite this Entry

“Pterygoid muscle.” Medical Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

Comments on pterygoid muscle

What made you want to look up pterygoid muscle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!