[ puh-pil-uh ]

noun,plural pa·pil·lae [puh-pil-ee]. /pəˈpɪl i/.
  1. any small, nipplelike process or projection.

  2. one of certain small protuberances concerned with the senses of touch, taste, and smell: the papillae of the tongue.

  1. a small vascular process at the root of a hair.

  2. a papule or pimple.

Origin of papilla

1400–50; late Middle English <Latin: nipple, teat, diminutive of papula pimple. See pap2

Other words from papilla

  • pap·il·lar [pap-uh-ler, puh-pil-er], /ˈpæp ə lər, pəˈpɪl ər/, adjective

Words Nearby papilla Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use papilla in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for papilla


/ (pəˈpɪlə) /

nounplural -lae (-liː)
  1. the small projection of tissue at the base of a hair, tooth, or feather

  2. any other similar protuberance

  1. any minute blunt hair or process occurring in plants

Origin of papilla

C18: from Latin: nipple; related to Latin papula pimple

Derived forms of papilla

  • papillary, papillate or papillose, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for papilla


[ pə-pĭlə ]

Plural papillae (pə-pĭlē)
  1. A small part projecting from the surface of an organism. In mammals, the nipples of the mammary glands and the taste buds of the tongue are papillae. Papillae are often seen on the undersurfaces of mosses and ferns.

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