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See more synonyms for aril on Thesaurus.com
noun Botany.
  1. a usually fleshy appendage or covering of certain seeds, as of the bittersweet, Celastrus scandens, or the nutmeg.
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Origin of aril

1785–95; < New Latin arillus; Medieval Latin: grape seed, probably erroneously for armillus, with same sense; compare Upper Italian dialect armella, arma kernel, pit of a fruit, Italian animella edible insides of an animal < Latin anima literally, spirit (hence, the insides of a thing), with -illa diminutive suffix; see anima
Related formsar·il·loid, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for aril

rind, pod, chaff, coat, hide, pelt, envelope, skin, aril, case, shell, hull, outside, bark, shuck, glume

Examples from the Web for aril

Historical Examples of aril

  • “Mace” is the “aril” or covering of the seed of the same plant.

    Elements of Structural and Systematic Botany

    Douglas Houghton Campbell

  • The pulp is of the nature of an aril, that is, an additional seed-coat.

  • The aril is a growth from the extremity of the seed-stalk, or from the placenta when there is no seed-stalk.

  • This aril or husk is the mace of commerce, while the true nutmeg is the center or hard seed (nut).

    The Nut Culturist

    Andrew S. Fuller

  • By the end of Aril, the several armies seemed to be ready, and the general forward movement on Corinth began.

British Dictionary definitions for aril


  1. an appendage on certain seeds, such as those of the yew and nutmeg, developed from or near the funicle of the ovule and often brightly coloured and fleshy
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Derived Formsarillate, adjective

Word Origin for aril

C18: from New Latin arillus, from Medieval Latin arilli raisins, pips of grapes
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 aril


"accessory covering of seeds," 1794, from Modern Latin arillus, from Medieval Latin arilli, Spanish arillos "dried grapes, raisins."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

aril in Science


  1. A fleshy seed cover which arises from the funiculus (the stalk of the ovule). Arils, such the red berry-like arils of the yew, are often brightly colored to attract animals who eat them and disperse the seeds. The spice mace is the aril of the nutmeg seed.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.