Definition of pectoral in US English:



  • 1Relating to the breast or chest.

    ‘pectoral development’
    • ‘While flat-bench presses hit the middle of the chest exceptionally well, for balanced pectoral development you want to focus on the upper and lower regions of your chest as well.’
    • ‘Cyprinodon diabolis has 17 pectoral rays, 12 dorsal rays and 28 caudal rays.’
    • ‘Gynecomastia is a condition in which firm breast tissue forms in males, causing an enlargement of the pectoral region to develop.’
    • ‘He had a small wound over the right pectoral area that was scabbed but not infected.’
    • ‘More specialized procedures such as buttock lifts and implants and pectoral implants are only performed by about 2% of surgeons.’
    • ‘There are 11 dorsal spines and 17 pectoral rays that help to distinguish it from the closely related Amphiprion percula.’
    • ‘A high bank angle is characteristic of penguins and sea lions which also lack a dorsal fin and turn using elongate pectoral flippers.’
    • ‘The structures cover the head, neck, tail, and parts of both the pectoral and pelvic limbs.’
    • ‘He would then swim in very tight circles, rapidly vibrating his pectoral and caudal fins.’
    • ‘The butterfly stretch is especially important in decreasing tightness in the pectoral region and the tricep stretch is beneficial to the axillary area.’
    • ‘It had pectoral and dorsal fins with fin-rays characteristic of fish.’
    • ‘The fourth type of patient needs pectoral implants for treating injuries such as pectoral tears, which may leave defects and gaps if the repair of the muscle was not done soon after the injury.’
    • ‘If you train back all the time but never chest, you may be prone to shoulder and pectoral injuries because of the imbalance.’
    • ‘There's the burly athlete whose pectoral development is matched only by his unyielding vanity.’
    • ‘The electrode wires are tunnelled up the arm to a control box located under the skin in the pectoral region.’
    • ‘In both living and fossil forms, the pectoral and pelvic fins are prominent characteristics of the locomotor anatomy.’
    • ‘Display of its large pectoral and dorsal fins gives the impression of even greater size.’
    • ‘But then I'm not sure what to make of all the people who have cosmetic surgery - breast augmentation, cheek bone implants, pectoral implants, nose jobs.’
    • ‘To illustrate the point, he tapped the left pectoral region of his chest with four fingers.’
    • ‘It involves removing the breast and the lymph nodes but leaving the pectoral chest muscles intact.’
    1. 1.1 Worn on the chest.
      ‘a pectoral shield’


usually pectorals
  • 1A pectoral muscle.

    • ‘In addition to massing up the pectorals, the heavy breathing also encourages rib cage expansion.’
    • ‘The boy's thin arms were tucked over his pectorals.’
    • ‘Your cardiovascular system is composed of your heart, arteries etc, whilst your muscular system is made up of your biceps, pectorals, deltoids etc.’
    • ‘Bulging biceps, svelte calves and women-attracting pectorals may be just a few injections away.’
    • ‘He felt this offered constant tension on the pectorals, especially the outer pecs.’
    • ‘Other implants, for biceps and pectorals, for instance, and even penile augmentations, are also on the increase.’
    • ‘Primarily, it hits the pectorals and front delts.’
    • ‘Incline dumbbell presses develop the contours of the middle and upper pectorals.’
    • ‘The contraction spreads up your forearms, through your biceps, triceps and shoulders, and explodes across your pectorals, rippling from outer to inner edge.’
    • ‘The overdevelopment of these adjacent muscles may make the pectorals appear even smaller and out of proportion with the rest of the body.’
    • ‘Lean too far forward and you'll pull your arms downward, which could minimize the muscular activation of the pectorals.’
    • ‘These work your pectorals in conjunction with your front deltoids and triceps; other muscles act as stabilizers.’
    • ‘It was human in base construction, a platform for large, menacing pectorals and biceps.’
    • ‘On the third rep, he heard a loud pop, the sickening sound of one of his pectorals tearing, at least partially.’
    • ‘The combined training group also completed 4 strengthening exercises targeting the pectorals, latissimus dorsi, gluteals, and quadriceps for 45 minutes.’
    • ‘The fact that they are middle-aged men - the lines on their faces as chiseled as their biceps, triceps and pectorals - adds to the curiosity the images elicit.’
    • ‘For instance, I would guess that paddling utilizes the latissimus dorsi, triceps, front deltoids, and perhaps to a lesser extent, the pectorals?’
    • ‘Those are a body builder's pectorals and a linebacker's shoulders.’
    • ‘The incline press works the pectorals and deltoids; using dumbbells allows a full range of motion and develops the shoulder's rotator-cuff stabilizers.’
    • ‘Her gaze was transfixed by his square shoulders, his rounded pectorals and his flat stomach.’
    1. 1.1 A pectoral fin.
      • ‘All of the fins, except the pectorals, were small and placed posteriorly.’
      • ‘Namazu stood on his three prominent fins, the two pectorals and his caudal flippers.’
    2. 1.2 An ornamental breastplate, especially one worn by a Jewish high priest.
      • ‘The pectoral is part of an exhibition which opened on March 30.’
      • ‘This wonderful piece, the pectoral, which is enough to cover a fairly large adult chest is so gorgeous it actually makes you want to cry.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘breastplate’): from Latin pectorale ‘breastplate’, pectoralis ‘of the breast’, from pectus, pector- ‘breast, chest’.