[vil-uh s]
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noun, plural vil·li [vil-ahy] /ˈvɪl aɪ/.
  1. Anatomy, Zoology. one of the minute, wormlike processes on certain membranes, especially on the mucous membrane of the small intestine, where they serve in absorbing nutriment.
  2. Botany. one of the long, soft, straight hairs covering the fruit, flowers, and other parts of certain plants.

Origin of villus

1695–1705; < Latin: shaggy hair, thick nap Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of villus

British Dictionary definitions for villus


noun plural villi (ˈvɪlaɪ) (usually plural)
  1. zoology anatomy any of the numerous finger-like projections of the mucous membrane lining the small intestine of many vertebrates
  2. any similar membranous process, such as any of those in the mammalian placenta
  3. botany any of various hairlike outgrowths, as from the stem of a moss

Word Origin for villus

C18: from Latin: shaggy hair
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 villus

1704, plural villi, from Latin villus "tuft of hair, shaggy hair" (see velvet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

villus in Medicine


n. pl. vil•li (vĭlī)
  1. A minute projection arising from a mucous membrane, especially one of the vascular projections of the small intestine.
  2. Such a projection of the chorion that contributes to placental formation in mammals.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

villus in Science


Plural villi (vĭlī)
  1. A small projection on the surface of a mucous membrane, such as that of the small intestine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.