- any small, nipplelike process or projection.
- one of certain small protuberances concerned with the senses of touch, taste, and smell: the papillae of the tongue.
- a small vascular process at the root of a hair.
- a papule or pimple.
Origin of papilla
1400–50; late Middle English < Latin: nipple, teat, diminutive of papula pimple. See pap2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for papillae
The papillae on the neck are not found in any American species.
In the third, it bristled with tiny spots similar to the papillae on a cat's tongue.The Life of the Fly
J. Henri Fabre
The epidermis now becomes raised as in a blister, and finally becomes detached, forming an excoriation and exposing the papillae.
Ambulacral appendages take the form of: circumoral tentacles, sucking-feet, papillae; of these alone is always present.
Papillae present only laterally H. boulengeri Papillae present laterally and ventrallyH.
- the small projection of tissue at the base of a hair, tooth, or feather
- any other similar protuberance
- any minute blunt hair or process occurring in plants
C18: from Latin: nipple; related to Latin papula pimple
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 papillae
plural papillae, 1690s, "nipple," from Latin papilla "nipple," diminutive of papula "swelling" (see pap (n.2)). Meaning "nipple-like protuberance" attested from 1713.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A small nipplelike projection, such as a protuberance on the skin, at the root of a hair or feather, or at the base of a developing tooth.
- One of the small, round or cone-shaped protuberances on the top of the tongue that contain taste buds.
- A pimple or pustule.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- 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.