cu·ti·cle | \ˈkyü-ti-kəl \

Definition of cuticle 

1 : an outer covering layer: such as

a : an external envelope (as of an insect) secreted usually by epidermal cells

b : the outermost layer of animal integument composed of epidermis

c : a thin continuous fatty or waxy film on the external surface of many higher plants that consists chiefly of cutin

d : the outermost membranous layer of a hair consisting of overlapping scales of epithelial cells

2 : dead or horny epidermis (such as that surrounding the base and sides of a fingernail)

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Other Words from cuticle

cuticular \kyu̇-ˈti-kyə-lər \ adjective

Examples of cuticle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Treat a pre-existing fungal infection or keep one from developing by mixing a drop or two of tea tree oil into coconut oil or water and applying it to your nail and cuticle or between your toes for athlete’s foot. Mandy Ferreira, Good Housekeeping, "13 Amazingly Useful Things You Can Do With Tea Tree Essential Oil," 27 July 2017 On the flip side, straight hair can get more voluminous because your hair cuticles are roughed up by the dye. Elizabeth Denton, Seventeen, "5 Things You Need To Know Before Going Platinum," 17 Mar. 2015 Ammonia dyes do just the opposite, separating the hair cuticle and diffusing the natural pigment in order to infiltrate the strands. Emilie Branch, Allure, "Graphene Allows You to Safely Dye Your Hair Black and Tame Flyaways, Says Study," 21 Mar. 2018 Applying hot tools directly to your hair can fry the cuticle, so coat wet locks with a creamy moisturizing product for protection. Jessica Prince Erlich, Harper's BAZAAR, "13 Secrets to Long, Thick, Shiny Hair," 7 Nov. 2016 Their Precious Hair Care Oil ($100; contains a nourishing combo of passion fruit and shea and moringa oils to smooth the cuticle and keep tresses healthy. Lisa Desantis,, "These Are the Beauty Products January Jones Uses Every Single Day," 14 June 2018 Jennings says putting a curling iron to wet hair can sizzle the cuticle causing a vertical crack in the strand. Jessica Cruel, SELF, "12 Common Curling Iron Mistakes and How to Stop Making Them," 8 June 2018 Diatomaceous earth causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect's exoskeleton., "How to clear soil choked with old roots: Ask an expert," 6 June 2018 The nails on both fingers were ripped from their cuticles. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "A door on a Royal Caribbean ship crushed her hand. She sued for $20.3 million — and won," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cuticle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cuticle

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cuticle

Latin cuticula, diminutive of cutis skin — more at hide

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Statistics for cuticle

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cuticle

The first known use of cuticle was in 1615

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English Language Learners Definition of cuticle

: the layer of dead or hard skin around the base of a fingernail or toenail


cu·ti·cle | \ˈkyü-ti-kəl \

Kids Definition of cuticle

1 : an outer layer (as of skin or a leaf) often produced by the cells beneath

2 : a dead or hard layer of skin especially around a fingernail


cu·ti·cle | \ˈkyüt-i-kəl \

Medical Definition of cuticle 

1 : an outer covering layer: as

a : the outermost layer of integument composed of epidermis

b : the outermost membranous layer of a hair consisting of cornified epithelial cells

2 : dead or horny epidermis (as that surrounding the base and sides of a fingernail or toenail)

Other Words from cuticle

cuticular \kyu̇-ˈtik-yə-lər \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on cuticle

Spanish Central: Translation of cuticle

Nglish: Translation of cuticle for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about cuticle

Comments on cuticle

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to reject or criticize sharply

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