any of the muscles that cause movement of a limb away from the midplane of the body or away from a neighbouring part or limb (compare adductor muscle), as in raising the arms to the side (effected by the deltoideus muscle) or spreading the fingers or toes. In man certain muscles of the hands and feet are named for performing this function. In the hand, the abductor digiti minimi manus acts upon the little finger, and both the abductor pollicis longus and abductor pollicis brevis act upon the thumb. The corresponding foot muscles are the abductor digiti minimi pedis and the abductor hallucis, which act on the little and great toes, respectively.
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