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[pet-l] /ˈpɛt l/
one of the often colored segments of the corolla of a flower.
1695-1705; < New Latin petalum petal, Latin: metal plate < Greek pétalon a thin plate, leaf, noun use of neuter of pétalos spread out, akin to petannýnai to be open, Latin patēre to stand open (see patent)
Related forms
petalage, noun
petaled, petalled, adjective
petalless, adjective
petallike, adjective
unpetaled, adjective
unpetalled, adjective
Can be confused
pedal, peddle, petal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for petals
  • Leafless with bright white spindly petals on slender spikes, the flower seems to float in the air.
  • The first basic thing is that they all have three sepals and three petals.
  • In between a gear meshes with the petals of a flower.
  • Lawyers outside the court showered him with rose petals.
  • He plucked flowers, then picked their petals out, and was surprised they died.
  • Lawyers showered his traitorous bodyguard with rose petals.
  • Not already dead butterflies but live ones, plucked from flower petals by her own hands.
  • While she posed, the petals in her bouquet trembled, as if getting married took all the nerve she could gather.
  • From this photograph, you can see that construction has yet to begin on the two petals and atolls furthest south.
  • The road from the station to the main campus is lined with cherry trees, and my feet stirred up little puffs of white petals.
British Dictionary definitions for petals


any of the separate parts of the corolla of a flower: often brightly coloured
Derived Forms
petaline, adjective
petal-like, adjective
petalled, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from New Latin petalum, from Greek petalon leaf; related to petannunai to lie open
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 petals



1726 (earlier petala, 1704), from Modern Latin petalum "petal" (17c.), from Greek petalon "a leaf; leaf of metal, thin plate," noun use of neuter of adj. petalos "outspread, broad, flat," from PIE root *pete- "to spread out" (see pace (n.)). Related: Petaline.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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petals in Science
One of the often brightly colored parts of a flower surrounding the reproductive organs. Petals are attached to the receptacle underneath the carpels and stamens and may be separate or joined at their bases. As a group, the petals are called the corolla. See more at flower.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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