Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A leaflike or scalelike plant part, usually small, sometimes showy or brightly colored, and located just below a flower, a flower stalk, or an inflorescence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A leaf or leaf-like structure from the axil of which a the stalk of a flower or an inflorescence arises.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A leaf, usually smaller than the true leaves of a plant, from the axil of which a flower stalk arises.
  • n. Any modified leaf, or scale, on a flower stalk or at the base of a flower.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In botany, a leaf in a flower-cluster or subtending a flower, usually differing somewhat from an ordinary leaf in size, form, or texture, often much reduced, and sometimes petaloid, highly colored, and very conspicuous.
  • n. In zoology, a part of a hydrozoan likened to a bract of a plant; a hydrophyllium. See cuts under Athorybia and hydrophyllium.
  • n. A thin plate of metal used as an ornament, as, for example, one of the gold disk-like ornaments made in Scandinavian countries in the Viking age.
  • n. The oval distal exite on the appendages of certain segments of phyllopod crustaceans, as Apus, probably serving a respiratory function.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a modified leaf or leaflike part just below and protecting an inflorescence

Etymologies

From Latin bractea, gold leaf, perhaps from Greek brakhein, to rattle.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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