epi·​der·​mis | \ ˌe-pə-ˈdər-məs How to pronounce epidermis (audio) \

Definition of epidermis

1a : the outer epithelial layer of the external integument of the animal body that is derived from the embryonic epiblast specifically : the outer nonsensitive and nonvascular layer of the skin of a vertebrate that overlies the dermis
b : any of various animal integuments
2 : a thin surface layer of tissue in higher plants formed by growth of a primary meristem

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Did You Know?

Epidermis includes the Greek prefix epi-, meaning "outer;" thus, the epidermis overlies the dermis, or inner layer of skin. The epidermis itself consists of four or five layers; the outermost layer is made of dead cells, which are being shed continuously. The epidermis acts as a physical barrier—a protective wrap over the body's surface, which, by preventing water loss, allows vertebrates to live on land.

Examples of epidermis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The beloved brand has create skin-care collections that address a wide array of epidermis concerns, like puffiness, dry skin, and hyperpigmentation. Jesa Marie Calaor, Allure, "7 Strivectin Products That Are Worth the Splurge," 13 Apr. 2018 Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes, which live in the base layer of our epidermis (the outermost layer of our skin). Rebecca Dancer, Allure, "Everything You Need to Know About Hyperpigmentation, According to Dermatologists," 13 Mar. 2020 The epidermis, the top layer of the skin, is thinner and more sensitive. cleveland, "Cloth masks in public might be here to stay. Here’s what you need to know.," 15 Apr. 2020 With that application, the acid can penetrate into the papillary dermis (the uppermost layer of the dermis, which sits below the epidermis). Farwa Shah, SELF, "10 Things You Should Know Before Getting a Glycolic Acid Peel," 3 Dec. 2019 This treatment can promote the production of collagen and make the epidermis stronger and healthier. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "3 Quick Procedures to Rejuvenate Your Look," 12 Mar. 2020 Up close, during our one-on-one interview, her epidermis appears to be beaming with nary a dead skin cell, bursting with collagen, and, unlike many of her peers, not frozen in place. Jessica Chia, Allure, "Miranda Kerr Shares How Her Zodiac Sign Affects Her Skin-Care Routine," 3 Feb. 2020 Plus, the regular exfoliation achieved by the silicone brush allows your skincare products to better penetrate the epidermis to reach deeper into the skin (and become more effective!!!). Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "We Tried The Foreo Luna 3 For Three Different Skin Types—Here’s What Happened," 12 Dec. 2019 Within hours, skin cells divide and crawl to cover the wound with a wound epidermis. Amber Dance, Smithsonian Magazine, "Some Salamanders Can Regrow Lost Body Parts. Could Humans One Day Do the Same?," 31 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epidermis.' 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 epidermis

1626, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for epidermis

Late Latin, from Greek, from epi- + derma skin — more at derm-

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Time Traveler for epidermis

Time Traveler

The first known use of epidermis was in 1626

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Statistics for epidermis

Last Updated

14 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Epidermis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epidermis. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for epidermis


How to pronounce epidermis (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of epidermis

medical : the outer layer of skin


epi·​der·​mis | \ ˌe-pə-ˈdər-məs How to pronounce epidermis (audio) \

Kids Definition of epidermis

1 : a thin outer layer of skin covering the dermis
2 : any of various thin outer layers of plants or animals


epi·​der·​mis | \ -ˈdər-məs How to pronounce epidermis (audio) \

Medical Definition of epidermis

1 : the outer epithelial layer of the external integument of the animal body that is derived from the embryonic epiblast specifically : the outer nonsensitive and nonvascular layer of the skin of a vertebrate that overlies the dermis
2 : any of various animal integuments

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More from Merriam-Webster on epidermis

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with epidermis

Spanish Central: Translation of epidermis

Nglish: Translation of epidermis for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of epidermis for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about epidermis

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