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[see-puh l]
See more synonyms for sepal on Thesaurus.com
noun Botany.
  1. one of the individual leaves or parts of the calyx of a flower.
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Origin of sepal

< New Latin sepalum (1790), irregular coinage based on Greek sképē covering and Latin petalum petal
Related formsse·paled, se·palled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sepals

husk, leaf, petal, sepal

Examples from the Web for sepals

Historical Examples of sepals

  • The sepals are green and much smaller than the white petals.

    Elements of Structural and Systematic Botany

    Douglas Houghton Campbell

  • The calyx is tightly closed, although the tips of the sepals are spread widely.

    The Apple-Tree

    L. H. Bailey

  • Stamens 5, inserted on the sepals, with double or irregular anthers.

  • Calyx inferior, funnelform, with 4–5 sepals as long as the corolla.

  • They occur normally in the sepals of Paronychia serpyllifolia and other plants.

    Vegetable Teratology

    Maxwell T. Masters

British Dictionary definitions for sepals


  1. any of the separate parts of the calyx of a flower
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Derived Formssepalled or sepalous (ˈsɛpələs), adjective

Word Origin for sepal

C19: from New Latin sepalum: sep-, from Greek skepē a covering + -alum, from New Latin petalum petal
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 sepals



"leaf of the calyx," 1821, from French sépal, from Modern Latin sepalum (H.J. de Necker, 1790), coined from Latin separatus "separate, distinct" (see separate (v.)) + petalum "petal" (see petal).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sepals in Science


  1. One of the usually separate, green parts that surround and protect the flower bud and extend from the base of a flower after it has opened. Sepals tend to occur in the same number as the petals and to be centered over the petal divisions. In some species sepals are colored like petals, and they can even be indistinguishable from petals, as in the lilies (in what are called tepals). In some groups, such as the poppies, the sepals fall off after the flower bud opens. See more at flower.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.