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tendril

[ten-dril]
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noun Botany.
  1. a threadlike, leafless organ of climbing plants, often growing in spiral form, which attaches itself to or twines round some other body, so as to support the plant.
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Origin of tendril

1530–40; earlier tendrel, variant (perhaps by dissimilation) of Middle English tendren, tendron < Middle French tendron shoot, sprout, cartilage
Related formsten·dril·lar, ten·dril·ous, adjectiveten·dril·ly, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tendrils

tendril

noun
  1. a specialized threadlike part of a leaf or stem that attaches climbing plants to a support by twining or adhering
  2. something resembling a tendril, such as a wisp of hair
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Derived Formstendrillar or tendrilous, adjective

Word Origin

C16: perhaps from Old French tendron tendril (confused with Old French tendron bud), from Medieval Latin tendō tendon
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 tendrils

tendril

n.

1530s, from Middle French tendrillon "bud, shoot, cartilage," perhaps a diminutive of tendron "cartilage," from Old French tendre "soft" (see tender (adj.)), or else from Latin tendere "to stretch, extend" (see tender (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tendrils in Science

tendril

[tĕndrəl]
  1. A slender, coiling plant part, often a modified leaf or leaf part, that helps support the stem of some climbing angiosperms by clinging to or winding around an object. Peas, squash, and grapes produce tendrils.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.