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See more synonyms for petiole on Thesaurus.com
  1. Botany. the slender stalk by which a leaf is attached to the stem; leafstalk.
  2. Zoology. a stalk or peduncle, as that connecting the abdomen and thorax in wasps.
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Origin of petiole

1745–55; < New Latin petiolus leafstalk, special use of Latin petiolus, scribal variant of peciolus, probably for *pediciolus, diminutive of pediculus pedicle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for petiole

Historical Examples

  • Metapodeon: the abdomen behind the podeon or petiole in Hymenoptera.

    Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology

    John. B. Smith

  • Some, however, have no petiole, but the blade is in direct contact with the stem.

    Field and Woodland Plants

    William S. Furneaux

  • The point of each cutting should contain a portion of the petiole.

    The Nursery Book

    Liberty Hyde Bailey

  • They are usually on the petiole at the base of the leaf but are sometimes on the leaf itself.

  • Such a petiole is illustrated in fig. 79, with its V-shaped fernlike stele.

    Ancient Plants

    Marie C. Stopes

British Dictionary definitions for petiole


  1. the stalk by which a leaf is attached to the rest of the plant
  2. zoology a slender stalk or stem, such as the connection between the thorax and abdomen of ants
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Word Origin

C18: via French from Latin petiolus little foot, from pēs foot
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 petiole


"footstalk of a leaf," 1753, from French pétiole (18c.), from Late Latin petiolus, misspelling of peciolus "stalk, stem," literally "little foot," diminutive of pediculus "foot stalk," itself a diminutive of pes (genitive pedis) "foot" (see foot (n.)). Given its modern sense by Linnaeus.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

petiole in Medicine


  1. A stem or pedicle.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

petiole in Science


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