pap·​pus ˈpa-pəs How to pronounce pappus (audio)
plural pappi ˈpa-ˌpī How to pronounce pappus (audio)
: an appendage or tuft of appendages that crowns the ovary or fruit in various seed plants and functions in dispersal of the fruit

Examples of pappus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The feathery pappus on the groundsel seed head are ready for wind dispersal as seen at 2x in the second-place image. Discover Magazine, 4 Oct. 2017 So not only does the pappus of a dandelion seed create this SVR, but the authors determined it’s also perfectly engineered to stabilize the pocket of air. Bill Andrews, Discover Magazine, 18 Oct. 2018

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

Word History


Latin, from Greek pappos

First Known Use

circa 1704, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pappus was circa 1704

Dictionary Entries Near pappus

Cite this Entry

“Pappus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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