American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A twisting, threadlike structure by which a twining plant, such as a grape or cucumber, grasps an object or a plant for support.
- n. Something, such as a ringlet of hair, that is long, slender, and curling.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In botany, a filiform leafless plant-organ that attaches itself to another body for the purpose of support. Morphologically, a tendril may be a modified stem, as in the vine and Virginia creeper; a modified branch, as in the passion-flower; a petiole, as in
Lathyrus Aphaca; a stipule, or, as in Smilax, a pair of stipules; or a leaflet of a compound leaf, as in the pea and vetch. The morphology of the tendrils in the Cucurbitaceæ is still open to question; by Braun and Wydler they are regarded as simple leaves of which the ribs are the branches of the tendril (a view adopted also by Eichler), but Naudin regards the main tendril as cauline and the branches as leaves. Tendrils are usually found on those plants which are too weak in the stem to enable them to grow erect; they twist themselves, usually in a spiral form, around other plants or neighboring bodies, and the plants on which they grow are thus enabled to elevate themselves. See cuts under cirrus, creeper, Lathyrus, passion-flower, and Smilax.
- Climbing as a tendril, or as by a tendril.
- n. botany A thin, spirally coiling stem that attaches a plant to its support.
- n. zoology A hair-like tentacle.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) A slender, leafless portion of a plant by which it becomes attached to a supporting body, after which the tendril usually contracts by coiling spirally.
- adj. rare Clasping; climbing as a tendril.
- n. slender stem-like structure by which some twining plants attach themselves to an object for support
- French tendrillon, from Old French, diminutive of tendron, young shoot, from tendre, tender; see tender1. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The colony spread out a thin tendril and consumed each.”
“You wake to find a wet snow has sneaked in after midnight wrapping the branches with an airy gauze, spangled with diamonds so that every snarly twig and tendril is an epiphany of white etched against the purplish-blue of an undecided sky.”
“I begin to think that one of the commonest means of transition is the same individual plant having the same part in different states: thus Corydalis claviculata, if you look to one leaf, may be called a tendril-bearer; if you look to another leaf it may be called a leaf-climber.”
“You correctly point out that the Black Walnut has compound leaves but then incorrectly identify the leaflets as leaves, and call a tendril what is actually the rachis of the leaf.”
“The companions wandered beneath the staring eye of the sun, following Big Zojja, as Little Zojja used her cockpit cage to pick up a telltale tendril of magic.”
“But then a tendril of irritation reached him, a fragment of emotion carried into his mind by an empathic projection—a strong empathic projection.”
“Violet noticed a tendril of black hair peeking out of the comforter, and one white hand.”
“It is my Sacred Heart … It is (metaphorically) wearing my heart on my sleeve … It is a tendril unfurling … It is a knot untied … It is a release …”
“As the light got brighter, he was able to move his eyes enough to get a look at the tendril right in front of his face.”
“Maybe he managed to doze awhile, maybe he fainted, but a tendril slithered along the inside of one of his legs a little too close to his crotch.”
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