lemma

noun (1)
lem·ma | \ ˈle-mə \
plural lemmas or lemmata\ˈle-mə-tə \

Definition of lemma 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an auxiliary proposition used in the demonstration of another proposition

2 : the argument or theme of a composition prefixed as a title or introduction also : the heading or theme of a comment or note on a text

3 : a glossed word or phrase

lemma

noun (2)

Definition of lemma (Entry 2 of 2)

: the lower of the two bracts enclosing the flower in the spikelet of grasses

First Known Use of lemma

Noun (1)

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1906, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lemma

Noun (1)

Latin, from Greek lēmma thing taken, assumption, from lambanein to take — more at latch

Noun (2)

Greek, husk, from lepein to peel — more at leper

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lemma

Dictionary Entries near lemma

Le Mans

leme

lemel

lemma

lemmatize

lemmer

lemming

Statistics for lemma

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lemma

The first known use of lemma was in 1570

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on lemma

See words that rhyme with lemma

Comments on lemma

What made you want to look up lemma? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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