Definition of cuticle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkyo͞odək(ə)l/


1 Botany & Zoology A protective and waxy or hard layer covering the epidermis of a plant, invertebrate, or shell.
Example sentences
  • The waxy cuticle of this plant epidermis is there to help keep the plant from drying out.
  • In fruit flies, epidermal cells secrete the cuticle, a protective covering for the organism.
  • More than 100 mean values for water permeabilities determined with isolated leaf and fruit cuticles from 61 plant species are compiled and discussed in relation to plant organ, natural habitat and morphology.
1.1 Zoology another term for epidermis.
Example sentences
  • Most concretions do not split at the rock/cuticle interface but rather split along internal laminations in the cuticle.
  • The chitinous cuticle that covers the infundibulum extends into and covers the inner surface of the acetabulum.
  • When the claw flexor relaxes and/or when the tarsus is pushed away from the body, the arolium is folded back and detaches from the surface by elastic recoil of the cuticle.
2The outer cellular layer of a hair.
Example sentences
  • Hair care products are designed in different ways to interact with the cuticle of the hair, which is the outer layer.
  • But don't do this everyday because it could damage the hair cuticle.
  • After 20 minutes under a heat lamp, the concoction causes hair cuticles to close, making tresses soft and shiny, says Kim Vo, co-owner of B2V salon in West Hollywood.
3The dead skin at the base of a fingernail or toenail.
Example sentences
  • Creams soften the nails and feet, toenails are trimmed and an oscillating machine tidies up the cuticles and removes dead or hard skin.
  • In addition, the cuticle of the fingernails often gets very ragged, overgrown, and irregular.
  • The company, based in Marina Del Rey, Calif., makes Voter Control Ink, a dye that stains fingernails and cuticles for up to 48 hours and helps to prevent voter fraud.



Pronunciation: /kyo͞oˈtikyələr/
Example sentences
  • On the ventral side of each segment are denticle belts and other cuticular structures characteristic of each segment.
  • An efferent cuticular tubule, or duct, leads out of the end of the vesicle towards the center of the secretory lobe.
  • Pupae were more susceptible than larvae and the activity of the toxin might have been through cuticular absorption.


Late 15th century (denoting a membrane of the body): from Latin cuticula, diminutive of cutis 'skin'.

  • hide from Old English:

    The hide meaning ‘the skin of an animal’ goes back far in prehistory to a root that also developed into Latin cutis ‘skin’ (the source of cuticle (Late Middle English)). A person who is hidebound (mid 16th century) is unable or unwilling to change because of tradition or convention. The word originally referred to physical condition, first of cattle who were so badly fed or so sick that their skin clung close to their back and ribs, and then of emaciated people. The hide meaning ‘to put or keep out of sight’ is also Old English but unrelated. See also bushel. Someone who is on a hiding to nothing is unlikely to succeed, or at least unlikely to gain much advantage if they do. The term apparently arose in the world of horse racing, when a trainer, owner, or jockey was expected to win easily and so could gain no credit from success but would be disgraced by failure. The word is the same as that in a good hiding, and means ‘a beating’—the idea is one of beating the hide or skin off someone. See also hundred

Words that rhyme with cuticle

pharmaceutical, therapeutical

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cu·ti·cle

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