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[kahr-puh l] /ˈkɑr pəl/
noun, Botany.
a simple pistil, or a single member of a compound pistil.
Origin of carpel
1810-20; < New Latin carpellum, equivalent to Greek karp(ós) fruit + Latin -ellum diminutive suffix
Related forms
[kahr-puh-ler-ee] /ˈkɑr pəˌlɛr i/ (Show IPA),
intercarpellary, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for carpel
Historical Examples
  • If this is so the flower of the grass is perfectly naked,97 and consists in the typical case of three stamens and one carpel.

    Grasses H. Marshall Ward
  • Hemicarp, half-fruit, one carpel of an Umbelliferous plant, 121.

  • If the tip of the carpel is indented, it is said to be emarginate; if long and pointed, mucronate.

    The Pears of New York U. P. Hedrick
  • Mericarp, one carpel of the fruit of an Umbelliferous plant, 121.

  • We must therefore regard the flower of the grass as typically composed of one carpel and three stamens, with no perianth whatever.

    Grasses H. Marshall Ward
  • carpel, kr′pel, n. a modified leaf forming the whole or part of the pistil of a flower.

  • Roeper has also mentioned a balsam with a supernumerary stamen occupying exactly the position of a carpel.

    Vegetable Teratology Maxwell T. Masters
  • It is also applied to the stalk or petiole of a carpel, in the rare cases when there is any, as in Goldthread.

  • Each13 ovary contains only one ovule, and when the seed ripens, the carpel does not open to discharge it, but drops with the seed.

    Botany for Ladies Jane Loudon
  • Sometimes the carpel is lined on the inner surface with a white substance, when it is said to be tufted.

    The Pears of New York U. P. Hedrick
British Dictionary definitions for carpel


the female reproductive organ of flowering plants, consisting of an ovary, style (sometimes absent), and stigma. The carpels are separate or fused to form a single pistil
Derived Forms
carpellary, adjective
carpellate (ˈkɑːpɪˌleɪt) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin carpellum, from Greek karpos fruit
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
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Word Origin and History for carpel

1835, from Modern Latin carpellum (1817 in French), a diminutive form from Greek karpos "fruit" (also "returns, profit"), literally "that which is plucked," from PIE root *kerp- "to gather, pluck, harvest" (see harvest (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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carpel in Science
One of the individual female reproductive organs in a flower. A carpel is composed of an ovary, a style, and a stigma, although some flowers have carpels without a distinct style. In origin, carpels are leaves (megasporophylls) that have evolved to enclose the ovules. The term pistil is sometimes used to refer to a single carpel or to several carpels fused together. See more at flower.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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