- to throw off in scales, splinters, etc.
- to remove the surface of (a bone, the skin, etc.) in scales or laminae.
- to throw off scales or flakes; peel off in thin fragments: The bark of some trees exfoliates.
- to split or swell into a scaly aggregate, as certain minerals when heated.
- to separate into rudely concentric layers or sheets, as certain rocks during weathering.
- Medicine/Medical. to separate and come off in scales, as scaling skin or any structure separating in flakes.
Origin of exfoliate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- (tr) to wash (a part of the body) with a granular cosmetic preparation in order to remove dead cells from the skin's surface
- (of bark, skin, etc) to peel off in (layers, flakes, or scales)
- (intr) (of rocks or minerals) to shed the thin outermost layer because of weathering or heating
- (of some minerals, esp mica) to split or cause to split into thin flakesa factory to exfoliate vermiculite
C17: from Late Latin exfoliāre to strip off leaves, from Latin folium leaf
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for exfoliative
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Marked by exfoliation, desquamation, or profuse scaling.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.