Definition of tapetum in English:


Syllabification: ta·pe·tum
Pronunciation: /təˈpētəm


A reflective layer of the choroid in the eyes of many animals, causing them to shine in the dark.
More example sentences
  • Passing over the ship's holds I look down upon sedate shoals of crescent-tailed bigeyes, their reflective tapetums looking like silver cataracts.
  • This ‘eyeshine’ is not the iris color but that of the vascular membrane - the tapetum - showing through the translucent pigment layer on the surface of the retina.
  • A layer of tapetum at the back of their eyes greatly increases their ability to see at night as well; this also makes their eyes glow in the dark.


early 18th century: from late Latin, from Latin tapete 'carpet'.

Definition of tapetum in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day oleaginous
Pronunciation: ˌōlēˈajənəs
rich in, covered with, or producing oil; oily