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  1. Also called molar tooth. a tooth having a broad biting surface adapted for grinding, being one of twelve in humans, with three on each side of the upper and lower jaws.
  1. adapted for grinding, as teeth.
  2. pertaining to such teeth.

Origin of molar1

1535–45; < Latin molāris grinder, short for (dēns) molāris grinding (tooth), equivalent to mol(a) millstone + -āris -ar1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for molars


  1. any of the 12 broad-faced grinding teeth in man
  2. a corresponding tooth in other mammals
  1. of, relating to, or designating any of these teeth
  2. used for or capable of grinding

Word Origin

C16: from Latin molāris for grinding, from mola millstone


  1. (of a physical quantity) per unit amount of substancemolar volume
  2. (not recommended in technical usage) (of a solution) containing one mole of solute per litre of solution

Word Origin

C19: from Latin mōlēs a mass
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 molars



"grinding tooth," mid-14c., from Latin molaris dens "grinding tooth," from mola "millstone," from PIE root *mel- "to rub, grind" (see mill (n.1)). As an adjective in this sense from 1620s. In Old English they were cweornteð "quern-teeth."



in chemistry, "pertaining to one mole," 1902, from mole (4) + -ar.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

molars in Science


  1. Relating to a mole.
  2. Containing one mole of solute per liter of solution.


  1. Any of the teeth located toward the back of the jaws, having broad crowns for grinding food. Adult humans have 12 molars.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

molars in Culture



The teeth with broad surfaces at the back of the mouth that serve to grind food. Including the wisdom teeth, adults have twelve molars — six on the top and six on the bottom. (Compare incisors and canines.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.