pap·​il·​lary ˈpa-pə-ˌler-ē How to pronounce papillary (audio)
especially British
pə-ˈpi-lə-rē How to pronounce papillary (audio)
: of, relating to, being, or resembling a papilla or nipple-shaped projection, mass, or structure : marked by the presence of papillae
papillary thyroid carcinoma
tumors with papillary projections

Examples of papillary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Tests revealed that Clough had anaplastic thyroid cancer, a far more aggressive form than papillary. Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2024 Diagnosing these cancers wasn’t saving lives: almost all were papillary thyroid tumors, which are present in as many as a third of all adults and rarely cause problems. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 12 Jan. 2024 In response to Morton-Maxson's complaint in King County Superior Court, UW Medicine stated on Aug. 14 that his tumor, identified as a papillary lesion, had not been located or reviewed by the hospital's pathology department after his surgery. Sandra Rose Salathe, Peoplemag, 16 Sep. 2023 Between his second and third NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Williams was diagnosed with papillary renal cell carcinoma type 2, already at stage 3, and on May 28, 2015, Williams had one of his kidneys removed. Mark Inabinett |, al, 28 June 2023 The American Cancer Society states on its website that most papillary cancers are treated with the removal of the thyroid gland, and if lymph nodes are enlarged or show signs of cancer spread, they will be removed as well. Stephen Simpson, Arkansas Online, 17 Sep. 2022 In 2015, Williams was diagnosed with papillary renal cell carcinoma type 2, already at stage 3, and had a kidney removed in May. Mark Inabinett |, al, 21 Apr. 2023 Zac died of an enlarged heart with fibrosis of the left anterior papillary muscle. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, The Indianapolis Star, 20 Oct. 2021 Stage 1 papillary or follicular thyroid cancer is used to describe any small tumor with no spread to the lymph nodes and no metastasis, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology website Stephen Simpson, Arkansas Online, 17 Sep. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'papillary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


alteration (by substition of the suffix -ary entry 2) of papillar, borrowed from New Latin papillāris "of the nipple," from Latin papilla "nipple" + -āris -ar — more at papilla

First Known Use

1667, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of papillary was in 1667

Dictionary Entries Near papillary

Cite this Entry

“Papillary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


ˈpap-ə-ˌler-ē, especially British pə-ˈpil-ə-rē
: of, relating to, or resembling a papilla : papillose

More from Merriam-Webster on papillary

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