- a cloud of a class characterized by thin white filaments or narrow bands and a composition of ice crystals: of high altitude, about 20,000–40,000 feet (6000–12,000 meters).
- a cirriform cloud.
- Botany. a tendril.
- a filament or slender appendage serving as a foot, tentacle, barbel, etc.
- the male copulatory organ of flatworms and various other invertebrates.
Origin of cirrus
1700–10; < Latin: a curl, tuft, plant filament like a tuft of hair
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cirrus
We will not say whether the old masters painted this cirrus or not.
There must be text-books on how to tell the cumuli from the cirrus.Post-Impressions
The third cirrus is about one third longer than the second cirrus.
In the sixth cirrus there are on each segment four pairs of spines.
The rami of the first cirrus are a little unequal in length.
- meteorol a thin wispy fibrous cloud at high altitudes, composed of ice particles
- a plant tendril or similar part
- a slender tentacle or filament in barnacles and other marine invertebrates
- a hairlike structure in other animals, such as a filament on the appendage of an insect or a barbel of a fish
C18: from Latin: curl, tuft, fringe
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 cirrus
1708, "curl-like fringe or tuft," from Latin cirrus "a lock of hair, tendril, curl, ringlet of hair; the fringe of a garment." In meteorology, cirrus clouds attested from 1803. So called from fancied resemblance of shape.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A high-altitude cloud composed of feathery white patches or bands of ice crystals. Cirrus clouds generally form between 6,100 and 12,200 m (20,000 and 40,000 ft). See illustration at cloud.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.