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

  • n. A scroll recording the genealogy of an ancient Roman family; a family tree.
  • n. The genealogy of the manuscripts of a literary work.
  • n. A small, circular, simple eye present in various insect larvae.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A family tree or recorded genealogy
  • n. In the study of stemmatics, a diagram showing the relationship of a text to its manuscripts
  • n. One of the types of simple eyes in arthropods

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of the ocelli of an insect. See ocellus.
  • n. One of the facets of a compound eye of any arthropod.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A family tree, or pedigree; specifically, such a pedigree made more or less decorative with heraldic or other ornaments; also, pedigree in general; order of descent; family: as, a man of the stemma of the Cecils.
  • n. The simple as distinguished from the compound eye of an invertebrate; an ocellus: always sessile and immovable.
  • n. One of the facets or corneules of a compound eye.
  • n. In entomology, the tubercle from which an antenna arises.

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

  • n. an eye having a single lens
  • n. the descendants of one individual
  • n. a tree diagram showing a reconstruction of the transmission of manuscripts of a literary work


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

Latin stemma, stemmat-, from Greek, garland, from stephein, to encircle.



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  • You tell'em Nab.

    June 13, 2009

  • I replied that I was the kind of snob who assumes that bad readers are by nature aware of an author's origins but who hopes that good readers will be more interested in his books than in his stemma.

    --Vladimir Nabokov, 1974, Look at the Harlequins!‎ p. 111

    June 13, 2009