la·​nu·​gi·​nous lə-ˈnü-jə-nəs How to pronounce lanuginous (audio) -ˈnyü- How to pronounce lanuginous (audio)
: covered with down or fine soft hair : downy

Did you know?

You're likely to come across lanuginous in only a few contexts, botany and spelling bees being the best candidates. In other contexts, the more common term is downy. Lanuginous has an unsurprising pedigree. It's from the Latin word lanuginosus, which is in turn from lanugo, the Latin word for "down." (Lanugo is also an English word used especially to refer to the soft woolly hair that covers the fetus of some mammals.) Lanugo itself is from lana, meaning "wool," a root also at work in lanolin, the term for wool grease that's refined for use in ointments and cosmetics.

Word History


Latin lanuginosus, from lanugin-, lanugo

First Known Use

1575, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lanuginous was in 1575


Dictionary Entries Near lanuginous

Cite this Entry

“Lanuginous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


la·​nu·​gi·​nous lə-ˈn(y)ü-jə-nəs How to pronounce lanuginous (audio)
: covered with down or fine soft hair
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!