1835, from Modern Latin carpellum (1817 in French), a diminutive form from Greek karpos "fruit" (also "returns, profit"), literally "that which is plucked," from PIE root *kerp- "to gather, pluck, harvest" (see harvest (n.)).
One of the individual female reproductive organs in a flower. A carpel is composed of an ovary, a style, and a stigma, although some flowers have carpels without a distinct style. In origin, carpels are leaves (megasporophylls) that have evolved to enclose the ovules. The term pistil is sometimes used to refer to a single carpel or to several carpels fused together. See more at flower.