[ ten-dril ]
/ ˈtɛn drɪl /

noun Botany.

a threadlike, leafless organ of climbing plants, often growing in spiral form, which attaches itself to or twines round some other body, so as to support the plant.


Nearby words

  1. tendoplasty,
  2. tendosynovitis,
  3. tendotomy,
  4. tendovaginal,
  5. tendovaginitis,
  6. tendrilly,
  7. tendu,
  8. tendulkar,
  9. tenebrae,
  10. tenebrific

Origin of tendril

1530–40; earlier tendrel, variant (perhaps by dissimilation) of Middle English tendren, tendron < Middle French tendron shoot, sprout, cartilage

Related formsten·dril·lar, ten·dril·ous, adjectiveten·dril·ly, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tendrils

British Dictionary definitions for tendrils


/ (ˈtɛndrɪl) /


a specialized threadlike part of a leaf or stem that attaches climbing plants to a support by twining or adhering
something resembling a tendril, such as a wisp of hair
Derived Formstendrillar or tendrilous, adjective

Word Origin for tendril

C16: perhaps from Old French tendron tendril (confused with Old French tendron bud), from Medieval Latin tendō tendon

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 tendrils



1530s, from Middle French tendrillon "bud, shoot, cartilage," perhaps a diminutive of tendron "cartilage," from Old French tendre "soft" (see tender (adj.)), or else from Latin tendere "to stretch, extend" (see tender (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for tendrils


[ tĕndrəl ]

A slender, coiling plant part, often a modified leaf or leaf part, that helps support the stem of some climbing angiosperms by clinging to or winding around an object. Peas, squash, and grapes produce tendrils.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.