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

  • n. The outermost layer of the skin of vertebrates; epidermis.
  • n. The strip of hardened skin at the base and sides of a fingernail or toenail.
  • n. Dead or cornified epidermis.
  • n. Zoology The noncellular, hardened or membranous protective covering of many invertebrates, such as the transparent membrane that covers annelids.
  • n. Botany The layer of cutin covering the epidermis of the aerial parts of plants.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The outermost layer of the skin of vertebrates; the epidermis.
  • n. The strip of hardened skin at the base and sides of a fingernail or toenail.
  • n. Dead or cornified epidermis.
  • n. A noncellular protective covering outside the epidermis of many invertebrates and plants.
  • n. A thin skin formed on the surface of a liquid.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The scarfskin or epidermis. See skin.
  • n. The outermost skin or pellicle of a plant, found especially in leaves and young stems.
  • n. A thin skin formed on the surface of a liquid.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In zoology and anat.: The scarf-skin or epidermis; the outermost layer of the skin, forming the general superficial integument or covering of the body (see cut under skin); by extension, any kind of epidermal or cuticular growths, as nails, claws, hoofs, horns, hair, feathers, etc.
  • n. The outermost and very superficial integument in general, without reference to its exact nature; a pellicle; a skin, rind, or other investing structure.
  • n. Some thick, tough membrane lining an internal organ: as, the cuticle of a fowl's gizzard.
  • n. In infusorians, specifically, the cell-wall.
  • n. 2. In botany, a continuous hyaline film covering the surface of a plant and formed of the cutinized outer surfaces of the epidermal cells. Sometimes used as equivalent to epidermis.
  • n. A thin skin formed on the surface of liquor; a film or pellicle.

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

  • n. hard outer covering or case of certain organisms such as arthropods and turtles
  • n. the dead skin at the base of a fingernail or toenail
  • n. the outer layer of the skin covering the exterior body surface of vertebrates


Latin cutīcula, diminutive of cutis, skin; see (s)keu- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin cuticula ("cuticle, skin"). (Wiktionary)


  • When I asked my cousin (only family I still have there) why that was, she did some digging and found out that it's because American eggs are washed with some solution that removes the cuticle from the shell, and leaves the eggs really susceptible to bacteria.


  • Hence when two plates of zinc and silver are thus brought in to the vicinity of each other, the plate of air between them, as they are not in adhesive contact, becomes like a charged coated jar; and if these two metallic plates are touched by your dry hands, they do not unite their electricities, as the dry cuticle is not

    Note XII

  • Insect wing membrane is made of cuticle, which is extracellular secretion.

    Clearwing moth from the sidewalk

  • The rind is hard; and the cuticle is a sort of soft, white paste, which has the taste of the best French rolls; but it must be eaten fresh, as it keeps only twenty-four hours, after which it becomes dry, sour and disagreeable; but, as a compensation, the trees are loaded with them eight months of the year.

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • Beneath the cuticle is the fibrous part, consisting of many cells closely packed together.

    The Art of Living in Australia ; together with three hundred Australian cookery recipes and accessory kitchen information by Mrs. H. Wicken

  • The authors, after investigation, are inclined to attribute the lustre of mercerised cotton to the absence of the cuticle, which is destroyed and removed in the process, partly by the chemical action of the alkali, and partly by the stretching at one or other stage of the process.

    Researches on Cellulose 1895-1900

  • When fully fattened, the thin cuticle, that is one of its characteristics, cracks, from the adipose distension beneath, exposing the fatty mass, which discharges a liquid oil from the adjacent tissues.

    The Book of Household Management

  • Over the rete mucosum is spread a fine transparent membrane, called the cuticle, or scarf skin, which defends the organ of feeling from the action of the air, and other things which would irritate it too powerfully.

    Popular Lectures on Zoonomia Or The Laws of Animal Life, in Health and Disease

  • Using a technique known as in situ Raman spectroscopy to probe the chemical composition of the cuticle, the researchers provided the first direct evidence that the cuticle is a protein-based polymeric scaffold stabilized by dopa-iron complexes. - latest science and technology news stories

  • Central to understanding the peculiar mechanical behaviour of the cuticle are the high concentration of iron ions in the cuticle and the presence of an uncommon modification of the amino acid tyrosine known commonly as dopa. - latest science and technology news stories


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