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

  • adj. Cylindrical but usually slightly tapering at both ends, circular in cross section, and smooth-surfaced.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having a smooth circular cross-section; cylindrical.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Cylindrical and slightly tapering; columnar, as some stems of plants.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Slender and smooth, with a circular transverse section; cylindrical or slightly tapering. See cut under petiole.

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

  • adj. especially of plant parts; cylindrical and tapering


From Latin teres, teret-, rounded; see terə-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin teres ("rounded (cylindrical)"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Rodin was a sculptor complete,
    Not least when he sat to excrete.
    That exquisite shaper
    Controlled so his taper
    That each of his turds was terete.

    May 11, 2016

  • Curiously the Word of the Day notification supplies the only definition of the five aggregated on the full entry page that omits mention of the "tapered at the ends" feature of terete structures.

    May 11, 2016

  • Terete also means rounded, smooth and round (Oxford English Dictionary).

    August 13, 2011