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[vil-uh s] /ˈvɪl əs/
noun, plural villi
[vil-ahy] /ˈvɪl aɪ/ (Show IPA)
Anatomy, Zoology. one of the minute, wormlike processes on certain membranes, especially on the mucous membrane of the small intestine, where they serve in absorbing nutriment.
Botany. one of the long, soft, straight hairs covering the fruit, flowers, and other parts of certain plants.
Origin of villus
1695-1705; < Latin: shaggy hair, thick nap Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for villi


the plural of villus


noun (usually pl) (pl) villi (ˈvɪlaɪ)
(zoology, anatomy) any of the numerous finger-like projections of the mucous membrane lining the small intestine of many vertebrates
any similar membranous process, such as any of those in the mammalian placenta
(botany) any of various hairlike outgrowths, as from the stem of a moss
Word Origin
C18: from Latin: shaggy hair
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 villi



1704, plural villi, from Latin villus "tuft of hair, shaggy hair" (see velvet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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villi in Medicine

villus vil·lus (vĭl'əs)
n. pl. vil·li (vĭl'ī)

  1. A minute projection arising from a mucous membrane, especially one of the vascular projections of the small intestine.

  2. Such a projection of the chorion that contributes to placental formation in mammals.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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villi in Science
Plural villi (vĭl'ī)
A small projection on the surface of a mucous membrane, such as that of the small intestine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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