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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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Inherent to the begging of passerine nestlings is the presentation of an open mouth, made especially striking by the yellows, oranges and red that often decorate both the gape and the enlarged rictal flanges that border it (Kilner and Davies 1998).
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.
Kennedy, her rictal grimace, inky eyes, and thicketed eyebrows summoning, eight times over--melancholics repeat, obsessively--a dolor that also pervades the four self-portraits of Jack punctuating the paintings of Jackie.