Definition of masseter in English:


(also masseter muscle)


  • A muscle which runs through the rear part of the cheek from the temporal bone to the lower jaw on each side and closes the jaw in chewing.

    • ‘Forceful jaw closure is a function of these muscles; the masseter that runs from the cheek bone to the angle of the jaw can easily be felt bulging and hardening when the teeth are clenched.’
    • ‘There are thirty-two segments devoted to a particular muscle, such as temporalis, masseter, sternocleidomastoid, biceps brachii and so on.’
    • ‘A case has been reported of displacement of the parotid gland on one side, with the entire gland being located on the masseter muscle.’
    • ‘The jaw adductor muscles, masseter and temporalis, are small and architecturally simple.’
    • ‘The main muscle used in chewing by rodents is the masseter, and the rodents can be divided into several groups based on exactly how they use these muscles.’


Late 16th century: from Greek masētēr, from masasthai ‘to chew’.