[ tuh-pee-tuh m ]
/ təˈpi təm /

noun, plural ta·pe·ta [tuh-pee-tuh] /təˈpi tə/.

Botany. a layer of cells often investing the archespore in a developing sporangium and absorbed as the spores mature.
Anatomy, Zoology. any of certain membranous layers or layered coverings, as in the choroid of the eyes of certain animals.

Origin of tapetum

1705–15; < New Latin, special use of Medieval Latin tapētum coverlet (Latin, only plural) < Greek tapēt- (stem of tápēs) carpet, rug

Related forms

ta·pe·tal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tapetum

British Dictionary definitions for tapetum


/ (təˈpiːtəm) /

noun plural -ta (-tə)

a layer of nutritive cells in the sporangia of ferns and anthers of flowering plants that surrounds developing spore cells
  1. a membranous reflecting layer of cells in the choroid of the eye of nocturnal vertebrates
  2. a similar structure in the eyes of certain nocturnal insects
anatomy a covering layer of cells behind the retina of the eye

Derived Forms

tapetal, adjective

Word Origin for tapetum

C18: from New Latin, from Medieval Latin: covering, from Latin tapēte carpet, from Greek tapēs carpet
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

Medicine definitions for tapetum


[ tə-pētəm ]

n. pl. ta•pe•ta (-tə)

A membranous layer or region, especially the iridescent membrane of the choroid of certain mammals.
A layer of fibers of the corpus callosum forming the roof of part of the lateral ventricle of the brain.

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