Definition of desquamate in English:



[no object]usually as adjective desquamated
  • (of a layer of cells, e.g. of the skin) come off in scales or flakes.

    ‘desquamated cells’
    • ‘The combination of sebum and desquamated cells provides an environment that is ripe for the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, the principal organism in inflammatory acne lesions.’
    • ‘TrkA immunofluorescence was detected both in desquamated epithelial cells and inflammatory cells recovered from RSV-infected airways.’
    • ‘Small numbers of epithelial giant cells were found admixed with acute inflammatory cells in the lamina propria and even among desquamated cells within the lumen of the appendix.’
    • ‘Dermoids are composed of mature epithelial tissues, a combination of skin, hair, desquamated epithelium, and teeth.’
    • ‘Transmission can occur by direct contact or from exposure to desquamated cells.’
    peel off, peel, chip, scale off, blister, come off, come off in layers
    View synonyms


Early 18th century (in the sense ‘remove the scales from’): from Latin desquamat- ‘scaled’, from the verb desquamare, from de- ‘away from’ + squama ‘a scale’.