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noun, plural se·tae [see-tee] /ˈsi ti/. Biology.
  1. a stiff hair; bristle or bristlelike part.
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Origin of seta

First recorded in 1785–95, seta is from the Latin word sēta, saeta bristle
Related formsse·tal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


British Dictionary definitions for setal


noun plural -tae (-tiː)
  1. (in invertebrates and some plants) any bristle or bristle-like appendage
  2. (in mosses) the stalk of the sporophyte that bears the capsule
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Derived Formssetaceous (sɪˈteɪʃəs), adjectivesetaceously, adverbsetal, adjective

Word Origin

C18: from Latin
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 setal



plural setae, 1793, from Latin seta "bristle," from PIE root *sai- "to tie, bind" (see sinew). Related: Setaceous.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

setal in Medicine


n. pl. se•tae (-tē)
  1. A stiff hair, bristle, or bristlelike process or part.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

setal in Science


Plural setae ()
  1. A stiff hair, bristle, or bristlelike process or part on an organism. Setae on the bodies of spiders are used as sensory organs, while setae on the bodies of many polychaete worms, such as earthworms, are used for locomotion. Microscopic setae on the feet of geckos allow adhesion to vertical surfaces.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.