epig·​y·​num | \ i-ˈpi-jə-nəm How to pronounce epigynum (audio) , e- \
variants: or epigyne \ ˈe-​pə-​ˌjīn How to pronounce epigynum (audio) \
plural epigynums or epigyna\ i-​ˈpi-​jə-​nə How to pronounce epigynum (audio) , e-​ \ or epigynes

Definition of epigynum

: an external genital structure of a female spider consisting of a variably-shaped, hardened plate on the underside of the abdomen with typically one or two openings through which sperm is transferred from a male palpus The epigynum of different spiders is highly variable in size and form, in ways that have little relation to general classification but are characteristic of species.— R. E. Snodgrass The projections on the male palp will fit only into the epigyne of a female of the same species.— Ken Preston-Mafham et al.

First Known Use of epigynum

1867, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for epigynum

epigynum Latinization of earlier epigyne, borrowed from New Latin epigynē, from epi- epi- + -gynē, feminine of -gynos, -gynus "situated (in a specified place) in relation to a female organ," borrowed from Greek -gynos "relating to or having (such or so many) wives," derivative of gynḗ "woman, wife" — more at queen entry 1

Note: The New Latin term was apparently introduced by the Swedish arachnologist Tamerlan Thorell (1830-1901) in "Recensio critica aranearum Suecicarum, quas descripserunt Clerckius, Linnaeus, De Geerus," Nova Acta Regiae Societatis Scientiarum Upsaliensis, seriei tertiae vol. II (1856-58), p. 71.

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The first known use of epigynum was in 1867

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Cite this Entry

“Epigynum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epigynum. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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