AskDefine | Define incisor

Dictionary Definition

incisor n : a tooth for cutting or gnawing; located in the front of the mouth in both jaws

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. One of the front teeth of mammals, between the canines.

Related terms

rel-top front tooth


  • Czech: řezák
  • Finnish: etuhammas
  • French: incisive
  • Japanese: 門歯 (もんし)
  • Polish: siekacz
  • Russian: резец
  • Slovene: sekalec

Extensive Definition

Incisors (from Latin incidere, "to cut") are the first kind of tooth in heterodont mammals. They are located in the premaxilla above and mandible below.


In many herbivorous or omnivorous mammals, such as the human and the horse, they are adapted for shearing sharply. In cats, the incisors are small and do not do much; biting off meat is done with the canines and the carnassials. In elephants, the upper incisors are modified into curved tusks, just as is the case with Narwhals, where normally one of them develops into a straight and twisted tusk. The incisors of rodents grow throughout life and are worn by gnawing.

Number and types of incisors

In humans

Humans normally have eight (8) incisors, two of each type. The types of incisors are:

In animals

Among other animals, some other primates, cats and horses have twelve. The rodents have four. Rabbits and hares (lagomorphs) were once considered rodents, but are distinguished by having eight--1 small pair, called "peg teeth" is directly behind the most anterior pair.

Additional images

Image:Illu mouth.jpg|Mouth (oral cavity)
incisor in Min Nan: Mn̂g-khí
incisor in Catalan: Dent incisiva
incisor in Czech: Řezák
incisor in German: Schneidezahn
incisor in Spanish: Incisivo
incisor in Esperanto: incizivo
incisor in French: Incisive
incisor in Indonesian: Gigi seri
incisor in Italian: incisivo
incisor in Dutch: Snijtand
incisor in Japanese: 切歯
incisor in Polish: Siekacz
incisor in Portuguese: Incisivo
incisor in Slovenian: Sekalec
incisor in Serbian: Секутићи
incisor in Chinese: 門齒

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

baby tooth, bicuspid, bucktooth, canine, crown, cuspid, cutter, deciduous tooth, dent, denticle, denticulation, dentil, dentition, dogtooth, eyetooth, fang, fore tooth, gagtooth, gang tooth, gold tooth, grinder, milk tooth, molar, peg, permanent tooth, pivot tooth, premolar, scrivello, snag, snaggletooth, tooth, tush, tusk, wisdom tooth
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