Definition of constrictor in US English:



  • 1A snake that kills by coiling around its prey and asphyxiating it.

    Families Boidae and Pythonidae, and some members of other families (in particular Colubridae)

    • ‘But constrictors eat prey that is too big, animals that could do the snake harm.’
    • ‘The cartridge shot out and hit him in the face, breaking his nose, and the power cord wrapped itself like a constrictor around his neck.’
    • ‘We did one project on rainforest snakes, covering everything from constrictors to vipers.’
    • ‘Asphyxiation was long thought to be the cause of death of constrictors' prey, but recent studies have found that death occurs far too rapidly (in about four minutes) for it to be that alone.’
    • ‘The monster constrictors can also squeeze the life out much larger prey before swallowing it whole.’
    • ‘Hundreds of the constrictors - which reach upwards of 19 feet and 200 pounds - are breeding and expanding their range in Florida's wetlands.’
    • ‘He rode snakes, one foot each on a huge cobra's back, and jewelsnakes and small constrictors and other serpents adorned his body.’
    • ‘Pythons are constrictors, meaning they rely on strength, not venom, to kill their prey.’
    • ‘Apparently, this constrictor was quite a good swimmer.’
    • ‘This time, I scanned the ledge for the shy constrictor.’
    • ‘They are constrictors; they suffocate their prey by coiling around it and squeezing.’
    • ‘‘I can deal with the spiders and smaller corn snakes on my own, but the larger ones, such as the constrictors, need two people,’ she said.’
  • 2Anatomy
    A muscle whose contraction narrows a vessel or passage.

    • ‘Pupillary size is controlled by the action of the constrictor and dilator smooth muscles of the iris.’
    • ‘The more inferior fibers arch distally deep to the middle constrictor muscle.’
    • ‘The tonsillar capsule was dissected away from the underlying superior constrictor muscle with the dissection continued along the anterior tonsillar pillar towards the posterior tonsillar pillar (open book technique).’
    • ‘The constrictor muscle is supplied by the parasympathetic nervous system, and the dilator by the sympathetic nervous system.’
    • ‘In contrast to these nerves, the pharyngeal branch of the vagus provides the primary motor output to the superior, medial, and inferior pharyngeal constrictor muscles.’
    1. 2.1 Each of the muscles which constrict the pharynx.
      • ‘Included are those fibers joining the inferior constrictor of the pharynx to the thyroid gland.’
      • ‘The muscular walls of the pharynx constitute three overlapping sheets of striated muscle, the pharyngeal constrictors.’
      • ‘The inferior constrictor is seen for the last time.’
      • ‘A thickened band at the caudal extremity of the inferior pharyngeal constrictor forms the upper esophageal sphincter, or cricopharyngeus muscle.’
      • ‘The muscular wall of the pharynx can be divided into three overlapping segments of striated muscle, termed the pharyngeal constrictors.’


Early 18th century: modern Latin, from constrict- ‘bound tightly together’, from the verb constringere (see constrain).