[ dur-mis ]
/ ˈdɜr mɪs /
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Anatomy, Zoology. the dense inner layer of skin beneath the epidermis, composed of connective tissue, blood and lymph vessels, sweat glands, hair follicles, and an elaborate sensory nerve network.
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Also called corium.

Origin of dermis

1820–30; <New Latin; abstracted from epidermis

Other definitions for dermis (2 of 2)


a combining form meaning “skin,” “layer of tissue,” used in the formation of compound words: exodermis; gastrodermis.
Compare -derm.

Origin of -dermis

On the model of epidermis; cf. dermis
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -dermis mean?

The combining form -dermis is used like a suffix meaning “skin” or “layer of tissue.” It is used in a number of scientific terms, especially in botany and zoology.

This form is directly based on epidermis, the thin outer layer of the skin, from the Greek epidermís, “surface skin” (more on this word in the next section below).

The word dermis was extracted from epidermis and refers to the dense inner layer of skin. All of these words ultimately come from the Greek dérma, meaning “skin.”

The Greek dérma also helps form the word taxidermy. Discover more about its roots in our entry for the word.

Closely related to -dermis are the combining forms -derm, -derma, -dermatous, dermat-, dermato-, derm-, and dermo-. Learn their specific applications in our Words That Use articles for these forms.

Examples of -dermis

As noted above, the epidermis is the outer layer of the skin—most of the skin is actually beneath what we generally refer to as our skin.

The first portion of the word, epi-, means “upon” or “over,” among other senses. The second part of the word, -dermis, refers to “skin.” So, epidermis has a literal sense of “upper skin.”

What are some words that use the combining form –dermis?



What are some other forms that –dermis may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

Exodermis is a term used in botany meaning “a temporary, protective layer of cells in some roots.”

The combining form exo- means “outer.” Given that and the meaning of -dermis, what is a literal translation of exodermis?

How to use dermis in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dermis

/ (ˈdɜːmɪs) /

another name for corium

Derived forms of dermis

dermic, adjective

Word Origin for dermis

C19: New Latin, from epidermis
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

Medical definitions for dermis

[ dûrmĭs ]

The sensitive connective tissue layer of the skin located below the epidermis, containing nerve endings, sweat and sebaceous glands, and blood and lymph vessels.corium cutis vera derma
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for dermis

[ dûrmĭs ]

The innermost layer of the skin in vertebrate animals. The dermis lies under the epidermis and contains nerve endings and blood and lymph vessels. In mammals, the dermis also contains hair follicles and sweat glands.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.