[skyoo-tel-uh m]
noun, plural scu·tel·la [skyoo-tel-uh] /skyuˈtɛl ə/.
  1. Botany. the shieldlike cotyledon of certain monocots.
  2. Zoology. a small plate, scutum, or other shieldlike part, as on the thorax of insects or the feet of birds.

Origin of scutellum

1750–60; < New Latin, equivalent to Latin scūt(um) shield (see scute) + -ellum diminutive suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of scutellum

British Dictionary definitions for scutellum


noun plural -la (-lə) biology
  1. the last of three plates into which the notum of an insect's thorax is divided
  2. one of the scales on the tarsus of a bird's leg
  3. an outgrowth from a germinating grass seed that probably represents the cotyledon
  4. any other small shield-shaped part or structure
Derived Formsscutellar, adjectivescutellate (ˈskjuːtɪˌleɪt, -lɪt), adjective

Word Origin for scutellum

C18: from New Latin: a little shield, from Latin scūtum a shield
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

scutellum in Science


Plural scutella
  1. A shieldlike bony plate or scale, as on the thorax of some insects.
  2. The large, shield-shaped cotyledon of the embryo of a grass plant, specialized for the absorption of food from the endosperm.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.