The lateral pterygoid (also lateral pterygoid muscle, latin: musculus pterygoideus lateralis) is one of the masticatory muscles, a thick short muscle located in the infratemporal fossa.
The lateral pterygoid originates from the the infratemporal surface of the greater wing of the sphenoid bone and partly from the lateral plate of the pterygoid process.
The lateral pterygoid inserts on the pterygoid fossa of the mandible.
Upon bilateral contraction the lateral pterygoid muscles push the mandible forward, while by contraction on one side the activated lateral pterygoid muscle pushes the mandible to the opposite side.
The lateral pterygoid is innervated by the lateral pterygoid nerve, a branch of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve (CN V3).