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[tuh-pee-tuh m] /təˈpi təm/
noun, plural tapeta
[tuh-pee-tuh] /təˈpi tə/ (Show IPA)
Botany. a layer of cells often investing the archespore in a developing sporangium and absorbed as the spores mature.
Anatomy, Zoology. any of certain membranous layers or layered coverings, as in the choroid of the eyes of certain animals.
Origin of tapetum
1705-15; < New Latin, special use of Medieval Latin tapētum coverlet (Latin, only plural) < Greek tapēt- (stem of tápēs) carpet, rug
Related forms
tapetal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for tapetum


noun (pl) -ta (-tə)
a layer of nutritive cells in the sporangia of ferns and anthers of flowering plants that surrounds developing spore cells
  1. a membranous reflecting layer of cells in the choroid of the eye of nocturnal vertebrates
  2. a similar structure in the eyes of certain nocturnal insects
(anatomy) a covering layer of cells behind the retina of the eye
Derived Forms
tapetal, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from New Latin, from Medieval Latin: covering, from Latin tapēte carpet, from Greek tapēs carpet
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
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Word Origin and History for tapetum

1713, from Medieval Latin tapetum, from Latin tapete "carpet."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tapetum in Medicine

tapetum ta·pe·tum (tə-pē'təm)
n. pl. ta·pe·ta (-tə)

  1. A membranous layer or region, especially the iridescent membrane of the choroid of certain mammals.

  2. A layer of fibers of the corpus callosum forming the roof of part of the lateral ventricle of the brain.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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