Definitions

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

  • n. The female, ovule-bearing organ of a flower, including the stigma, style, and ovary.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The seed-bearing organ of a flower. It consists of an ovary, containing the ovules or rudimentary seeds, and a stigma, which is commonly raised on an elongated portion called a style. When composed of one carpel a pistil is simple; when composed of several, it is compound. See Illust. of flower, and ovary.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In botany, the female or seed-bearing organ of a flower.

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

  • n. the female ovule-bearing part of a flower composed of ovary and style and stigma

Etymologies

French, from New Latin pistillum, from Latin, pestle (from its shape).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French pistil. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The female organ is called the pistil, and it has a sticky part on the end to receive pollen called the stigma.

    Five Funny Scientific Ideas | Heretical Ideas Magazine

  • The pistil is the same as the stamina, only that it extends to a greater length: the stamina and pistil are shaded very light scarlet.

    The Royal Guide to Wax Flower Modelling

  • The stamens have ripened and been pushed off by the lengthened pistil, which is brushed by the back of the bee, and thus is pollinated.

    The First Book of Farming

  • Some parents teach their children at once that the pistil is the mother-part of the plant, caring for the young seeds, the stamens the father part, providing for them, and that the stamens and pistil growing in the same flower are brothers and sisters.

    The Renewal of Life; How and When to Tell the Story to the Young

  • We will leave it there for a time, and examine the body called the pistil, to which the knob belongs.

    The Fairy-Land of Science

  • Surrounding the pistil are the stamens, few or many, the anther at the extremity containing the powdery pollen.

    My Studio Neighbors

  • The pistil consists of a stigma supported on the style; but in some Compositae, the male florets, which of course cannot be fecundated, have a pistil, which is in a rudimentary state, for it is not crowned with a stigma; but the style remains well developed, and is clothed with hairs as in other compositae, for the purpose of brushing the pollen out of the surrounding anthers.

    On the Origin of Species~ Chapter 13 (historical)

  • Compositæ, the male florets, which of course cannot be fecundated, have a pistil, which is in a rudimentary state, for it is not crowned with a stigma; but the style remains well developed, and is clothed with hairs as in other compositæ, for the purpose of brushing the pollen out of the surrounding anthers.

    On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. (2nd edition)

  • Look closely and you will see coming up from the center of these five stems (stamens) one central stalk without a hat, Mother Morning-Glory, known in botany as the "pistil"; and as you follow down this pistil you will find an enlarged part at the base, which is known as the cradle-nest -- the home of the seed babies.

    The Mother and Her Child

  • On a day in a dry summer Sheremiah's wife Catrin drove her cows to drink at the pistil which is in the field of a certain man.

    My Neighbors Stories of the Welsh People

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