(From to inclose, or hide, because in its natural state it is closed in the vagina,) called also 3 M ae strum Veneris, columella, dulcedo Veneris, epideris, hy-podermis, myrton. It is a part of the external pudendum situated at the angle which the nymphae form with each other. Within the labia externa, at the upper angle, we observe the prominent extremity of the clitoris, which is covered with a preputium similar to that of the penis. It is very vascular and villous, to occasion a greater irritation in coitu. The clitoris is, in many respects, analogous to the penis; the two crura clitoridis, which are two spongy bodies, and form the clitoris by their union, arise from the ischium, and, running along the lower edge of the os pubis and the os ischium, unite, to form the corpora cavernosa of the clitoris. It is furnished with two erector muscles, whose origin and insertion are the same as in the penis; but though the clitoris has a glans, there is no corpus spongiosum urethrae; its trunk is sustained by a suspensory ligament, fixed in the symphysis of the ossa pubis. Like the penis, it has an erection, and it is thought to be the principal seat of venereal pleasure.
The clitoris is of different sizes in different women, but, in general, it is small, and covered with the labia; when preternaturally enlarged, it constitutes an hermaphrodite.
When the clitoris is too large, it is styled cercosis, and may be so extirpated as to remove the unnecessary part; but this requires much care, for if too large a portion is extirpated, the patient is subjected to an involuntary discharge of urine.