radula

noun

rad·​u·​la ˈra-jə-lə How to pronounce radula (audio)
plural radulae ˈra-jə-ˌlē How to pronounce radula (audio)
-ˌlī
also radulas
: a horny band or ribbon in mollusks other than bivalves that bears minute chitinous teeth on its dorsal surface and scrapes or tears off food and draws it into the mouth
radular adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Finding a radula would be the clincher for Smith and Caron's argument; failing to do so puts their analysis in a tricky position. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 26 May 2010 Their teeth are one of the hardest materials in nature and are attached to a flexible tongue-like structure called a radula. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 31 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'radula.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

adaptation (as translation of German Reibplatte) of Latin rādula "scraper," from rādere "to scrape, scratch, pare away, shave" + -ula, deverbal suffix of adjectives and nouns — more at rase

Note: The term was probably introduced by the Russian zoologist Alexander von Middendorff (Aleksandr Fëdorovič Middendorf, 1815-94), in Beiträge zu einer Malacozoologia rossica, 1. Band (St. Petersburg, 1847), p. 54 passim. The editors of the Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, who were unable to trace the word in Middendorff's work, appear not to have consulted the first volume of the Beiträge. The word does not occur in the second and third parts, published in 1849.

First Known Use

1853, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of radula was in 1853

Dictionary Entries Near radula

Cite this Entry

“Radula.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/radula. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

radula

noun
rad·​u·​la ˈraj-ə-lə How to pronounce radula (audio)
: a tough band bearing teeth that occurs in some mollusks (as snails and slugs) and is used to scrape or tear off food and bring it into the mouth

Medical Definition

radula

noun
rad·​u·​la ˈraj-ə-lə How to pronounce radula (audio)
plural radulae -ˌlē How to pronounce radula (audio) -ˌlī How to pronounce radula (audio) also radulas
: a horny band or ribbon in mollusks other than bivalves that bears minute teeth on its dorsal surface and tears up food and draws it into the mouth and that in some members of the gastropod genus Conus is used to inflict a poisonous and sometimes fatal bite
radular adjective

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