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

  • n. A covering of fine, soft hair, as on a leaf, an insect, or a newborn child.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The soft down or fine hair, specifically as covering the human foetus or a tumorous area

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The soft woolly hair which covers most parts of the mammal fetus, and in man is shed before or soon after birth.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In anatomy, the coat of delicate downy hairs with which the human fetus is covered for some time before birth.
  • n. In botany and zoology, the cottony or woolly growth on the surface of some leaves, fruits, insects, etc.

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

  • n. the fine downy hair covering a human fetus; normally shed during the ninth month of gestation


Middle English, pith, from Latin lānūgō, down, from lāna, wool.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin lana ("wool") (Wiktionary)



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  • "Week 38: Most of the baby's downy hair, lanugo, and whitish coating, vernix, is disappearing."


    October 3, 2007