From Middle French sphincter, from Late Latin sphincter, itself a borrowing from Ancient Greek σφιγκτήρ (sphinktḗr, “band, contractile muscle”), from σφίγγω (sphíngō, “I bind tight”). Compare sphinx, "the strangler".
sphincter (plural sphincters)
- (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 […]
- (in particular) The internal or external anal sphincter, to the extent these are distinguished as two separate entities.
sphincter m (plural sphincters)