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[v. tes-uh-leyt; adj. tes-uh-lit, -leyt] /v. ˈtɛs əˌleɪt; adj. ˈtɛs ə lɪt, -ˌleɪt/
verb (used with object), tessellated, tessellating.
to form of small squares or blocks, as floors or pavements; form or arrange in a checkered or mosaic pattern.
Origin of tessellate
1785-95; < Latin tessellātus mosaic, equivalent to tessell(a) small square stone (diminutive of tessera tessera) + -ātus -ate1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tessellate
  • Have students make predictions about which shapes will tessellate.
  • Under the drawings, describe which of the polygons tessellate.
  • Given the following polygons, demonstrate how each would tessellate a plane.
  • Given a regular hexagon, using transformations, tessellate the original shape to make a new tile pattern.
British Dictionary definitions for tessellate


(transitive) to construct, pave, or inlay with a mosaic of small tiles
(intransitive) (of identical shapes) to fit together exactly: triangles will tessellate but octagons will not
Word Origin
C18: from Latin tessellātus checked, from tessella small stone cube, from tessera
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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