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See more synonyms for bract on Thesaurus.com
noun Botany.
  1. a specialized leaf or leaflike part, usually situated at the base of a flower or inflorescence.
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Origin of bract

1760–70; earlier bractea < Latin: a thin plate of metal
Related formsbrac·te·al [brak-tee-uh l] /ˈbræk ti əl/, adjectivebract·ed, adjectivebract·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

needle, stalk, frond, petal, scale, blade, leaflet, flag, pad, bract, stipule, petiole, foliole

Examples from the Web for bract

Historical Examples

  • The lower part of the bract forms a sheath which encloses the ovary.

    Vegetable Teratology

    Maxwell T. Masters

  • Union of the leaf or bract with the flower-stalk is not uncommon.

    Vegetable Teratology

    Maxwell T. Masters

  • Br, The bract devoid of muscles and respiratory in function.

  • Diagram of Violet-flower; showing the relation of parts to bract and axis.

  • The bract and pedicels of the umbel all spring from the extremity of a peduncle 1½in.

British Dictionary definitions for bract


  1. a specialized leaf, usually smaller than the foliage leaves, with a single flower or inflorescence growing in its axil
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Derived Formsbracteal, adjectivebractless, adjective

Word Origin

C18: from New Latin bractea, Latin: thin metal plate, gold leaf, variant of brattea, of obscure origin
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 bract


in botany, "small leaf at the base of a flower," Modern Latin, from Latin bractea, literally "thin metal plate," of unknown origin. Related: Bracteal; bracteate.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bract in Science


  1. A modified leaf growing just below a flower or flower stalk. Bracts are generally small and inconspicuous, but some are showy and petallike, as the brightly colored bracts of bougainvillaea or the white or pink bracts of flowering dogwoods.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.