• synonyms


[rad-i-kuh l]
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  1. Botany.
    1. the lower part of the axis of an embryo; the primary root.
    2. a rudimentary root; radicel or rootlet.
  2. Chemistry. (formerly) radical(def 13).
  3. Anatomy. a small rootlike part or structure, as the beginning of a nerve or vein.

Origin of radicle

1665–75; < Latin rādīcula small root, equivalent to rādīc- (stem of rādīx) root1 + -ula -ule
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for radicle

Historical Examples

  • Radicle or Radicula: that joint of the antenna that is articulated to the head.

    Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology

    John. B. Smith

  • Give the etymologies of the words icicle, radicle, and radical.

  • The -icle, in icicle, is apparently the same as the -icle in radicle.

  • The radicle is blunt and is about 3⁄4 mm in length, while the cotyledons are 1⁄2 mm long.

    All About Coffee

    William H. Ukers

  • The initial stem on which they stand was called the Radicle.

British Dictionary definitions for radicle


  1. botany
    1. part of the embryo of seed-bearing plants that develops into the main root
    2. a very small root or rootlike part
  2. anatomy any bodily structure resembling a rootlet, esp one of the smallest branches of a vein or nerve
  3. chem a variant spelling of radical (def. 11)

Word Origin

C18: from Latin rādīcula a little root, from rādīx root
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 radicle


1670s, in botany, from Latin radicula, diminutive of radix (see radish).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

radicle in Medicine


  1. A small structure, such as a fibril of a nerve, that resembles a root.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

radicle in Science


  1. The part of a plant embryo that develops into a root. In most seeds, the radicle is the first structure to emerge on germination.
  2. A small anatomical structure, such as a fibril of a nerve, that resembles a root.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.