Definition of masseter in US 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.’
    • ‘The jaw adductor muscles, masseter and temporalis, are small and architecturally simple.’
    • ‘There are thirty-two segments devoted to a particular muscle, such as temporalis, masseter, sternocleidomastoid, biceps brachii and so on.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A case has been reported of displacement of the parotid gland on one side, with the entire gland being located on the masseter muscle.’


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