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Either of two muscles of the neck that serve to flex the neck and rotate the head.

[stern(um) + Greek kleis, kleid-, collarbone + mastoid.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.sternocleidomastoid - one of two thick muscles running from the sternum and clavicle to the mastoid and occipital bone; turns head obliquely to the opposite side; when acting together they flex the neck and extend the head
skeletal muscle, striated muscle - a muscle that is connected at either or both ends to a bone and so move parts of the skeleton; a muscle that is characterized by transverse stripes
cervix, neck - the part of an organism (human or animal) that connects the head to the rest of the body; "he admired her long graceful neck"; "the horse won by a neck"
References in periodicals archive ?
Her sternocleidomastoids were gently squeezed with my thumb and index fingers.
Finally, her neck was treated in much the same way as Mrs A's with loose fist stroking of the scalenes, gentle pinching of the sternocleidomastoids and circular frictions to the posterior neck muscles.
The neck is composed primarily of two different muscles - the trapezius, which covers the entire back side of the neck; and the sternocleidomastoids, which run along either side of the neck.

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