Anatomy. the outer, nonvascular, nonsensitive layer of the skin, covering the true skin or corium.
Zoology. the outermost living layer of an animal, usually composed of one or more layers of cells.
Botany. a thin layer of cells forming the outer integument of seed plants and ferns.

1620–30; < Late Latin: surface skin < Greek epidermís upper skin. See epi-, derma

epidermal, epidermic, adjective
epidermically, adverb
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World English Dictionary
epidermis (ˌɛpɪˈdɜːmɪs)
1.  Also called: cuticle the thin protective outer layer of the skin, composed of stratified epithelial tissue
2.  the outer layer of cells of an invertebrate
3.  the outer protective layer of cells of a plant, which may be thickened by a cuticle
[C17: via Late Latin from Greek, from epi- + derma skin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1626, from Gk. epidermis, from epi- "on" + derma "skin."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

epidermis ep·i·der·mis (ěp'ĭ-dûr'mĭs)
The nonvascular outer protective layer of the skin, covering the dermis.

ep'i·der'mal (-məl) or ep'i·der'mic adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
epidermis   (ěp'ĭ-dûr'mĭs)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. The protective outer layer of the skin. In invertebrate animals, the epidermis is made up of a single layer of cells. In vertebrates, it is made up of many layers of cells and overlies the dermis. Hair and feathers grow from the epidermis.

  2. The outer layer of cells of the stems, roots, and leaves of plants. In most plants, the epidermis is a single layer of cells set close together to protect the plant from water loss, invasion by fungi, and physical damage. The epidermis that is exposed to air is covered with a protective substance called cuticle. See more at photosynthesis.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
epidermis [(ep-uh-dur-mis)]

The outside layers of the skin.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Under the scab, epidermal cells are migrating into the wound to close it up.
Or maybe you're not, and it would be deeply selfish for your boyfriend to insist on maintaining his epidermal integrity.
Her thesis research was on the ecophysiology of epidermal lipids and water homeostasis in house sparrows.
In the case of brain cancer, the primary growth factor involved is epidermal growth factor.
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