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

  • n. A subsidiary proposition assumed to be valid and used to demonstrate a principal proposition.
  • n. A theme, argument, or subject indicated in a title.
  • n. A word or phrase treated in a glossary or similar listing.
  • n. The outer or lower of the two bracts that enclose the flower in a grass spikelet.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A proposition proved or accepted for immediate use in the proof of some other proposition.
  • n. The canonical form of an inflected word.
  • n. A lexeme; all the inflected forms of a term.
  • n. One of the specialized bracts around the floret in grasses.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A preliminary or auxiliary proposition demonstrated or accepted for immediate use in the demonstration of some other proposition, as in mathematics or logic.
  • n. A word that is included in a glossary or list of headwords; a headword.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In logic:
  • n. In the Stoical logic
  • n. The major premise of a hypothetical syllogism, or modus ponens: thus, in the reasoning, “If it is day, it is light; but it is day: hence, it is light,” the first premise was called the lemma.
  • n. A premise in general.
  • n. A Megaric sophism depending on the question whether a man who says “I am lying” is truly lying or not.
  • n. In mathematics, a proposition upon which it is necessary to arrest the attention for the sake of proving an ulterior one, but which interrupts the regular series of theorems; also, a premise drawn from another branch of mathematics than that under consideration.
  • n. A theme; a thesis; the subject of an epigram, or of a musical composition, etc.
  • n. In embryology, the primary or outer layer of the germinal vesicle. Pascoe.

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

  • n. the lower and stouter of the two glumes immediately enclosing the floret in most Gramineae
  • n. a subsidiary proposition that is assumed to be true in order to prove another proposition
  • n. the heading that indicates the subject of an annotation or a literary composition or a dictionary entry


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

Latin lēmma, from Greek, from lambanein, to take.
Greek, husk, from lepein, to peel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek λῆμμα (lēmma, "premise, assumption"), from λαμβάνω (lambanō, "I take").



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  • In addition, lemma means 1. the husk or shell of a fruit; 2. the lower bract of a floret of a grass; 3. the external layer of the germinal vesicle (Oxford English Dictionary). Moreover, lemma signifies the external covering of an anatomical or biological structure. Examples are plasmalemma, the plasma membrane of any cell, and sarcolemma, the outer membrane of a myocyte (cell of a muscle).

    July 1, 2011

  • Wouldn't that be a di-lemma?

    *dodges tomatoes*

    February 6, 2010

  • Plural of lemming.

    February 5, 2010

  • Jane Austen's little known contribution to the discipline of Logic.

    February 8, 2008