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[see-tuh] /ˈsi tə/
noun, plural setae
[see-tee] /ˈsi ti/ (Show IPA).
a stiff hair; bristle or bristlelike part.
1785-95; < Latin sēta, saeta bristle
Related forms
setal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for setae
  • The setae, they found, repelled dirt even when isolated from the gecko.
  • These segments are covered in setae, or small bristles, which the worm uses to move and burrow.
  • He and his colleagues are also developing synthetic setae based on the biological design of the gecko.
  • But they shed their hairs-projections on the exoskeleton called setae.
  • There are often numerous short setae above the prolegs.
  • Most are rather stout, nearly smooth with inconspicuous setae, rendered in cryptic shades brown and green.
  • The body is covered with numerous setae especially below the level of the spiracles.
  • Stinging hairs located on warts below downy, hairlike setae.
British Dictionary definitions for setae


noun (pl) -tae (-tiː)
(in invertebrates and some plants) any bristle or bristle-like appendage
(in mosses) the stalk of the sporophyte that bears the capsule
Derived Forms
setaceous (sɪˈteɪʃəs) adjective
setaceously, adverb
setal, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from Latin
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 setae



plural setae, 1793, from Latin seta "bristle," from PIE root *sai- "to tie, bind" (see sinew). Related: Setaceous.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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setae in Medicine

seta se·ta (sē'tə)
n. pl. se·tae (-tē)
A stiff hair, bristle, or bristlelike process or part.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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setae in Science
Plural setae (sē'tē)
A stiff hair, bristle, or bristlelike process or part on an organism. Setae on the bodies of spiders are used as sensory organs, while setae on the bodies of many polychaete worms, such as earthworms, are used for locomotion. Microscopic setae on the feet of geckos allow adhesion to vertical surfaces.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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