[ pet-l ]
See synonyms for petal on
  1. one of the often colored segments of the corolla of a flower.

Origin of petal

1695–1705; <New Latin petalum petal, Latin: metal plate <Greek pétalon a thin plate, leaf, noun use of neuter of pétalos spread out, akin to petannýnai to be open, Latin patēre to stand open (see patent)

Other words from petal

  • pet·al·age, noun
  • petaled, petalled, adjective
  • pet·al·less, adjective
  • pet·al·like, adjective
  • un·pet·aled, adjective
  • un·pet·alled, adjective

Words that may be confused with petal

Other definitions for -petal (2 of 2)


  1. a combining form meaning “seeking, moving toward” that specified by the initial element, used in the formation of compound words: acropetal.

Origin of -petal

<New Latin -pet(us) seeking, derivative of Latin petere to seek + -al1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use petal in a sentence

  • Its shape is of a lotos bud, and the long fissures that plough a mountain side are now but delicate gold veining on a petal.

    The Dragon Painter | Mary McNeil Fenollosa
  • "Then I am quite sure you will remember," she laughed, and fell to picking a rose apart, petal by petal.

  • She took another bungling stitch in the petal of a white floss daisy.

    The Butterfly House | Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • Ariadne was the white and slender lily, slowly unfolding petal after petal in obedience to the law of its own inner growth.

    Unveiling a Parallel | Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Marchant
  • That other night, after he had gone home, he had found a solitary pink petal clinging to his scarf-pin.

    The White Shield | Myrtle Reed

British Dictionary definitions for petal (1 of 2)


/ (ˈpɛtəl) /

  1. any of the separate parts of the corolla of a flower: often brightly coloured

Origin of petal

C18: from New Latin petalum, from Greek petalon leaf; related to petannunai to lie open

Derived forms of petal

  • petaline, adjective
  • petal-like, adjective
  • petalled, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for -petal (2 of 2)


adj combining form
  1. seeking: centripetal

Origin of -petal

from New Latin -petus, from Latin petere to seek

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

Scientific definitions for petal


[ pĕtl ]

  1. One of the often brightly colored parts of a flower surrounding the reproductive organs. Petals are attached to the receptacle underneath the carpels and stamens and may be separate or joined at their bases. As a group, the petals are called the corolla. See more at flower.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.