from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small crescent-shaped structure or marking, especially the white area at the base of a fingernail that resembles a half-moon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Something shaped like a crescent or half-moon; especially the pale area at the base of the fingernail.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Same as lunule.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Something which is shaped like a little moon or narrow crescent; a lunule or lunulet.
  • n. Specifically— The free crescentic edge and adjoining thin part of a semilunar valve of the heart.
  • n. The small white semilunar mark at the base of the human fingernails.
  • n. A crescentic impression on some bivalve shells; a lunule.
  • n. A small semicircular or crescentic spot of color; a lunulet.
  • n. [capitalized] A generic name given by Hitchcock to ichnolites of uncertain character.
  • n. In mathematics, a lune.
  • n. In entomology, a small depression on the frons of a dipterous insect.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a crescent-shaped metal ornament of the Bronze Age
  • n. the crescent-shaped area at the base of the human fingernail


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

New Latin lūnula, from Latin, crescent-shaped ornament, diminutive of lūna, moon; see leuk- in Indo-European roots.


  • Near the root of the nail, the papillæ are smaller, less vascular, and have no regular arrangement, and here the tissue of the nail is not firmly adherent to the connective-tissue stratum but only in contact with it; hence this portion is of a whiter color, and is called the lunula on account of its shape.

    X. The Organs of the Senses and the Common Integument. 2. The Common Integument

  • Instead, the safe held cosmetics and an envelope with a Bronze Age gold necklace in the shape of a crescent moon known as a lunula and two gold discs.

    The Money Times

  • The whitish crescent moon at the nail base, under the nail plate, is called the lunula, and the tissue overlapping the nail at the base is the cuticle.

    HowStuffWorks Daily Feed

  • A long, simple, sleeved tunic bordered with a purple stripe was the standard uniform for both freeborn boys and girls in Rome, and a protective neck chain called a bulla in the case of boys and a moon-shaped lunula for girls the moon being the symbol of Diana, the Roman goddess of chastity their only adornment.

    Caesars’ Wives

  • • The lunula: The whitish, half-moon shape at the base of your nail underneath the plate.

    You Being Beautiful

  • The lunula is overlapped by the cuticle, which protects those keratin cells.

    CNN Transcript Sep 21, 2006

  • Clipeus erat vacuus, in quo olim fuisse dicebant laminam æream, et eius in ea itidem cælata insignia, Leonem videlicet argenteum, cui ad pectus lunula rubea in campo cæruleo, quem Limbus ambiret denticulatus ex auro.

    The Voyages and Travels of Sir John Mandeville

  • Near the root is a little crescentric-shaped white portion called the lunula.

    The Art of Living in Australia

  • The finger nails should be trimmed into a bow shape, and the corners rounded off, while the skin near the root of the nail, which tends to grow over the lunula, should be repressed into position by means of any suitable appliance.

    The Art of Living in Australia

  • It was a work of art, that razor sharp lunula of stainless steel.

    Life Support


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  • On balmy nights down Jamaica way
    They sip their rum and play reggae,
    And give not a thought
    As to how one ought
    Pronounce such words as lunulae.

    August 28, 2014

  • If looking at the moon you're me,

    Inspired to rhyme, soon you see

    There's a need for defending

    The long vowels ending

    Borrowed words like 'lunulae'.

    August 28, 2014

  • You see every month a moon-full sky

    And know that light will too soon die.

    But the gibbous orb lingers

    On each of your fingers

    Where never will wane your lunulae.

    August 27, 2014