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From Latin rictus, participle of ringor ‎(open the mouth wide)


rictus ‎(plural rictuses)

  1. A bird's gaping mouth
  2. Any open-mouthed expression
    'His face was a rictus of sheer delight.


  • 1899 - Victor Hugo, The Memoirs of Victor Hugo
    Amid a thick, bristling beard, a nose like an owl's beak and a mouth whose corners were drawn by a wild-beast-like rictus were just discernible.
  • 1916 - James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
    A rictus of cruel malignity lit up greyly their old bony faces.
  • 1990 - Voivod, Nothingface
    Valves plugs pumps to erase/ rictus from my face.
  • 1993Wolfenstein 3D, Episode 3, Level 9, after defeating Hitler
    The absolute incarnation of evil, Adolf Hitler, lies at your feet in a pool of his own blood. His wrinkled, crimson-splattered visage still strains, a jagged-toothed rictus trying to cry out. Insane even in death. Your lips pinched in bitter victory, you kick his head off his remains and spit on his corpse.
  • 2001Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl, p 56
    It squinted at her through the hated light, its brow a rictus of pain and fear.
  • 2008Sean Williams, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, p 81
    The apprentice watched his Master, pain twisting his features into a rictus.

Derived terms[edit]





rictus m ‎(plural rictus)

  1. rictus