1. The outermost layer of the skin of vertebrates; epidermis.
2. The strip of hardened skin at the base and sides of a fingernail or toenail.
3. Dead or cornified epidermis.
4. Zoology The noncellular, hardened or membranous protective covering of many invertebrates, such as the transparent membrane that covers annelids.
5. Botany The layer of cutin covering the epidermis of the aerial parts of plants.
[Latin cutīcula, diminutive of cutis, skin; see (s)keu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
cu·ticu·lar (-tĭkyə-lər) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.