[ too-ni-kit, -keyt, tyoo- ]

  1. Zoology. any sessile marine chordate of the subphylum Tunicata (Urochordata), having a saclike body enclosed in a thick membrane or tunic and two openings or siphons for the ingress and egress of water.

adjectiveAlso tu·ni·cat·ed.
  1. (especially of the Tunicata) having a tunic or covering.

  2. of or relating to the tunicates.

  1. Botany. having or consisting of a series of concentric layers, as a bulb.

Origin of tunicate

First recorded in 1615–25, tunicate is from the Latin word tunicātus wearing a tunic. See tunic, -ate1

Words Nearby tunicate

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How to use tunicate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tunicate


/ (ˈtjuːnɪkɪt, -ˌkeɪt) /

  1. any minute primitive marine chordate animal of the subphylum Tunicata (or Urochordata, Urochorda). The adults have a saclike unsegmented body enclosed in a cellulose-like outer covering (tunic) and only the larval forms have a notochord: includes the sea squirts: See also ascidian

adjectiveAlso: tunicated
  1. of, relating to, or belonging to the subphylum Tunicata

  2. (esp of a bulb) having or consisting of concentric layers of tissue

Origin of tunicate

C18: from Latin tunicātus clad in a tunic

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

Scientific definitions for tunicate


[ tōōnĭ-kĭt ]

  1. Any of various primitive marine chordate animals of the subphylum Tunicata, having a rounded or cylindrical body that is enclosed in a tough outer covering. Tunicates start out life as free-swimming, tadpolelike animals with a notochord (a primitive backbone), but many, such as the sea squirts, lose the notochord and most of their nervous system as adults and become fixed to rocks or other objects. Tunicates often form colonies.

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