n. pl. pa·pil·lae (-pĭlē)
1. A small nipplelike projection, such as a protuberance on the skin, at the root of a hair or feather, or at the base of a developing tooth.
2. One of the small, round or cone-shaped protuberances on the top of the tongue that contain taste buds.
3. A pimple or pustule.
4. Botany A minute projection on the surface of a stigma, petal, or leaf.
[Latin, nipple, diminutive of papula, swelling, pimple.]
papil·lar′y (păpə-lĕr′ē, pə-pĭlə-rē) adj.
papil·late′ (păpə-lāt′, pə-pĭlĭt) adj.
pap·il·lose (păpə-lōs′, pə-pĭlōs′) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.