or tes·se·lat·ed

[ tes-uh-ley-tid ]
/ ˈtɛs əˌleɪ tɪd /


of, relating to, or like a mosaic.
arranged in or having the appearance of a mosaic; checkered.



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Origin of tessellated

First recorded in 1685–95; tessellate + -ed2

OTHER WORDS FROM tessellated

un·tes·sel·lat·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What does tessellated mean?

Tessellated is an adjective used to describe patterns of shapes that fit together perfectly, without any gaps.

It’s also the past tense of the verb tessellate, which means to form such a pattern.

This kind of pattern is called a tessellation. This often often refers to a pattern that includes a repetition of one particular shape, such as the repetition of squares in a checkerboard. But tessellations can also be formed from multiple shapes. For example, a classic black-and-white soccer ball is an example of a tessellation that consists of two different shapes: hexagons and pentagons.

Tessellated patterns are a kind of mosaic. They’re often seen on surfaces that have been covered in tiles. That’s because floor and wall tiles are often designed so that they can tessellate—fit together perfectly, without any overlap or gaps.

Tessellated is sometimes spelled with one l, as tesselated.

yellow and orange honeycomb pattern

Source: Getty. A tessellated pattern formed from hexagons.

Example: The tessellated honeycomb pattern on the side of the building was formed from interlocking hexagons.

Where does tessellated come from?

The first records of the word tessellated come from the late 1700s. It ultimately comes from the Latin word tessellātus, which means “mosaic” and is related to the Latin tessell(a), meaning “a small square stone or cube.”

A pattern consisting entirely of squares is probably the most basic kind of tessellation. But multiple shapes can be combined to form a tessellated pattern that perfectly fits together. Many traditional quilts feature tessellated patterns with multiple kinds of shapes. Tessellated patterns can even be found in nature, such as in the patterns on the skin or fur of certain animals or the shapes that form in dried mud. The artist M. C. Escher is known for creating intricate tessellated patterns of irregular images, such as birds and fish.

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What are some other forms related to tessellated?

  • tesselated (alternate spelling)
  • tessellate (verb)

What are some synonyms for tessellated?

What are some words that share a root or word element with tessellated

What are some words that often get used in discussing tessellated?

How is tessellated used in real life?

Tessellated is a somewhat technical term. Tessellated patterns can be found in all kinds of artwork, such as tilework and quilts, but they can also occur naturally.



Try using tessellated!

Is tessellated used correctly in the following sentence?

The artist connected the images to create a tessellated pattern with no end and no beginning.

Example sentences from the Web for tessellated

Medical definitions for tessellated

[ tĕsə-lā′tĭd ]


Composed of or patterned in small squares.

Other words from tessellated

tes′sel•lation n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.