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n. pl. rictus or ric·tus·es
1. A gaping grimace: "his mouth gaping in a kind of rictus of startled alarm" (Richard Adams).
a. The expanse of an open mouth or a bird's beak.
b. The corner of the mouth or the fleshy area where the upper and lower mandibles of a bird meet.

[Latin, from past participle of ringī, to gape.]

ric′tal adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Maxillary barbel longest, originating from end of upper and lower rictal fold of lips, extending to posterior margin of pectoral-fin base; nasal barbel extending almost to opercle; outer mandibular barbel extending to middle of pectoral-fin base; inner mandibular barbel offset from midventral line into two and outer mandibular barbel, extending to middle of pectoral-fin base.
Race, gender, appearance, body language, rictal spouses and offspring, even bursts of tragic grandeur, are all subsumed by marketing and "image-making", now magnified by "virtual" technology.