from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A scroll recording the genealogy of an ancient Roman family; a family tree.
  • noun A record or diagram showing the relationships of the manuscripts of a literary work.
  • noun A simple eye present in certain insect larvae.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A family tree, or pedigree; specifically, such a pedigree made more or less decorative with heraldic or other ornaments; also, pedigree in general; order of descent; family: as, a man of the stemma of the Cecils.
  • noun The simple as distinguished from the compound eye of an invertebrate; an ocellus: always sessile and immovable.
  • noun One of the facets or corneules of a compound eye.
  • noun In entomology, the tubercle from which an antenna arises.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One of the ocelli of an insect. See ocellus.
  • noun One of the facets of a compound eye of any arthropod.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A family tree or recorded genealogy
  • noun In the study of stemmatics, a diagram showing the relationship of a text to its manuscripts
  • noun One of the types of simple eyes in arthropods

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

  • noun an eye having a single lens
  • noun the descendants of one individual
  • noun a tree diagram showing a reconstruction of the transmission of manuscripts of a literary work


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

[Latin stemma, stemmat-, from Greek, garland, from stephein, to encircle.]


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  • I replied that I was the kind of snob who assumes that bad readers are by nature aware of an author's origins but who hopes that good readers will be more interested in his books than in his stemma.

    --Vladimir Nabokov, 1974, Look at the Harlequins!‎ p. 111

    June 13, 2009

  • You tell'em Nab.

    June 13, 2009