• synonyms


[kahr-puh l]
noun Botany.
  1. a simple pistil, or a single member of a compound pistil.
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Origin of carpel

1810–20; < New Latin carpellum, equivalent to Greek karp(ós) fruit + Latin -ellum diminutive suffix
Related formscar·pel·lar·y [kahr-puh-ler-ee] /ˈkɑr pəˌlɛr i/, adjectivein·ter·car·pel·lar·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for carpel

Historical Examples

  • Mericarp, one carpel of the fruit of an Umbelliferous plant, 121.

    The Elements of Botany

    Asa Gray

  • Carpel, or Carpidium, a simple pistil or a pistil-leaf, 106.

  • Hemicarp, half-fruit, one carpel of an Umbelliferous plant, 121.

  • Carpel, kr′pel, n. a modified leaf forming the whole or part of the pistil of a flower.

  • Roeper has also mentioned a balsam with a supernumerary stamen occupying exactly the position of a carpel.

    Vegetable Teratology

    Maxwell T. Masters

British Dictionary definitions for carpel


  1. the female reproductive organ of flowering plants, consisting of an ovary, style (sometimes absent), and stigma. The carpels are separate or fused to form a single pistil
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Derived Formscarpellary, adjectivecarpellate (ˈkɑːpɪˌleɪt), adjective

Word Origin

C19: from New Latin carpellum, from Greek karpos fruit
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 carpel


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.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

carpel in Science


  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.