one of the often colored segments of the corolla of a flower.

Origin of petal

1695–1705; < New Latin petalum petal, Latin: metal plate < Greek pétalon a thin plate, leaf, noun use of neuter of pétalos spread out, akin to petannýnai to be open, Latin patēre to stand open (see patent)
Related formspet·al·age, nounpet·aled, pet·alled, adjectivepet·al·less, adjectivepet·al·like, adjectiveun·pet·aled, adjectiveun·pet·alled, adjective
Can be confusedpedal peddle petal


a combining form meaning “seeking, moving toward” that specified by the initial element, used in the formation of compound words: acropetal.

Origin of -petal

< New Latin -pet(us) seeking, derivative of Latin petere to seek + -al1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for petal

Contemporary Examples of petal

Historical Examples of petal

  • The fingers that held the petal tingled, and a flush rose in her cheek.


    William J. Locke

  • A petal fell off; and the taxi driver, brushing past her, ground it into the rug.


    Stephen French Whitman

  • "The petal of a plum blossom," he said compassionately, in his own tongue.

  • He saw the sunshine of Eden glint on every leaf and beam in every petal.

    Gov. Bob. Taylor's Tales

    Robert L. Taylor

  • As petal after petal floats down to earth she becomes artistic.

British Dictionary definitions for petal



any of the separate parts of the corolla of a flower: often brightly coloured
Derived Formspetaline, adjectivepetal-like, adjectivepetalled, adjective

Word Origin for petal

C18: from New Latin petalum, from Greek petalon leaf; related to petannunai to lie open


adj combining form


Word Origin for -petal

from New Latin -petus, from Latin petere to seek
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 petal

1726 (earlier petala, 1704), from Modern Latin petalum "petal" (17c.), from Greek petalon "a leaf; leaf of metal, thin plate," noun use of neuter of adj. petalos "outspread, broad, flat," from PIE root *pete- "to spread out" (see pace (n.)). Related: Petaline.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

petal in Medicine



Moving toward:basipetal.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

petal in Science



One of the often brightly colored parts of a flower surrounding the reproductive organs. Petals are attached to the receptacle underneath the carpels and stamens and may be separate or joined at their bases. As a group, the petals are called the corolla. See more at flower.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.