Masseter Muscle: Action, Origin & Insertion

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  • 0:04 Masseter Muscle
  • 0:51 Action
  • 1:11 Origin
  • 1:32 Insertion
  • 2:02 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition, Anatomy, Physiology, and Sports Nutrition courses and has a master's degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.

The masseter muscle is a facial muscle that is located in the area of the cheek. In this lesson, you'll learn about the action, origin, and insertion of the masseter muscle.

Masseter Muscle

Jimmy is a 43-year-old construction worker who loves to chew gum. Over the past 20+ years, he has chewed about ten pieces of gum each day. Some of his friends say that Jimmy is addicted to chewing gum.

The muscles in the jaws, just like any other muscle in the body, get bigger when they're exercised repeatedly over a period of time. Therefore, Jimmy's constant gum chewing over the years has made his jaw muscles much bigger and more pronounced, especially the masseter muscle.

The masseter muscle is a facial muscle that is located in the area of the cheek, and it is involved in chewing. If you put your fingers on the back part of your cheek and bite down, the muscle that flexes outward when you bite down is the masseter muscle.


As it was just mentioned, the masseter is involved in chewing. Specifically, the action of this muscle involves pulling the lower jaw up, which causes the jaws to close. Therefore, the masseter muscle is involved in the biting portion of chewing. The word 'mastication' means 'to chew,' and this word 'mastication' comes from the word 'masseter.'


The origin of a muscle refers to the location of the body where the muscle starts or begins. The origin of the masseter muscle is the zygomatic arch. The zygomatic arch, also called the cheek bone or zygomatic process, is a bony arch that connects the temporal and zygomatic bones, which are located on the sides of the face/skull.

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