sphincter

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Late Latin sphincter, from Ancient Greek σφιγκτήρ (sphinktḗr, band, contractile muscle), from σφίγγω (sphíngō, I bind tight). Compare sphinx, "the strangler".

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Noun[edit]

sphincter (plural sphincters)

  1. (anatomy) A ringlike band of muscle that surrounds a bodily opening, constricting and relaxing as required for normal physiological functioning.
    the sphincter of the bladder
    the iris sphincter in the eye
    • 1982, Lawrence Durrell, Constance (Faber & Faber, 2004: Avignon Quintet), page 836:
      She decided that she would force him to climax first by the sheer strength of her young animal control, the strength of her sphincters []
    1. (in particular) The internal or external anal sphincter, to the extent these are distinguished as two separate entities.

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