ta·​pe·​tum | \ tə-ˈpē-təm How to pronounce tapetum (audio) \
plural tapeta\ tə-​ˈpē-​tə How to pronounce tapetum (audio) \

Definition of tapetum

1 : any of various reflective membranous layers or areas especially of the choroid and retina of the eye
2 : a layer of nutritive cells that invests the sporogenous tissue in the sporangium of vascular plants

Examples of tapetum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some creatures, including cats, raccoons, and dogs, have a layer of reflective tissue in their eyes known as the tapetum lucidum. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Fantastically Wrong: Why So Many People Think They’ve Seen Ghost Dogs With Glowing Eyes," 14 Jan. 2015

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

First Known Use of tapetum

1713, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tapetum

New Latin, from Latin tapete carpet, tapestry, from Greek tapēt-, tapēs carpet

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tapetum

Time Traveler for tapetum

Time Traveler

The first known use of tapetum was in 1713

See more words from the same year

Statistics for tapetum

Cite this Entry

“Tapetum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tapetum. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tapetum


ta·​pe·​tum | \ tə-ˈpēt-əm How to pronounce tapetum (audio) \
plural tapeta\ -​ˈpēt-​ə How to pronounce tapetum (audio) \

Medical Definition of tapetum

1 : any of various membranous layers or areas especially of the choroid and retina of the eye specifically : tapetum lucidum
2 : a layer of nerve fibers derived from the corpus callosum and forming part of the roof of each lateral ventricle of the brain

More from Merriam-Webster on tapetum

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tapetum

Comments on tapetum

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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