Definition of ternate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtəːneɪt/


Arranged in threes, especially (of a compound leaf) having three leaflets.
Example sentences
  • Mexican mock orange (Choisya ternata) is a good example of a plant with ternate leaves.
  • Based on leaf architecture, there are three main compound leaf types: pinnate, palmate, and ternate.



Example sentences
  • The leaf is usually ternately divided, the petiolule about equalling the blade in length.
  • Ternately compound leaves come in threes, such as poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans).
  • The plant has ferny, pinnately or ternately decompound leaves and produces compound umbels with small white or pinkish flowers that are attractive to bees.


Mid 18th century: from modern Latin ternatus, from medieval Latin ternare 'make threefold', from terni 'three at once'.

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