One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural lemmata, Plural lemmas
1A subsidiary or intermediate theorem in an argument or proof.‘they give every last lemma of neoclassical theory the status of Holy Writ’
- ‘I found a gap in a proof and proved a lemma to set it right.’
- ‘The fundamental lemma of the calculus of variations is named after him.’
- ‘It takes a long series of lemmas to show how powerful the primitive recursive functions are.’
- ‘To state the lemma, we need to make one more definition concerning functors.’
- ‘The following lemma is fundamental in the theory of incomplete markets.’
2A heading indicating the subject or argument of a literary composition or annotation.
- ‘The lemma is always followed by an analysis of the text.’
3A word or phrase defined in a dictionary or entered in a word list.
- ‘While recognizing it as ‘the finest lexicon available for NT Greek,’ they observe this disturbing shortcoming: It does not explain in the introduction the criteria employed for selecting lemmas.’
Late 16th century: via Latin from Greek lēmma ‘something assumed’; related to lambanein ‘take’.
nounPlural lemmata, Plural lemmasBotany
The lower bract of the floret of a grass.Compare with palea
- ‘In the basal part of the floret, the mRNA label was very strong in the two distinctive bracts, lemma and palea, as well as in the base of the two lodicules and the pistil complex.’
- ‘Phenotypic traits include barbed lemmas, small sterile lateral spikelets, short glume awns, narrow leaves, semismooth awns, and long rachilla hairs.’
- ‘On the day before florets opened, the third florets from the top of the first branches were fixed in FAA after removing the lemmas.’
- ‘Each floret is enclosed in a lemma and palea and all florets produce two lodicules, three stamens, and a gynoecium.’
- ‘Two leafy organs protect the floret of grasses, the lemma, and the palea, and both are considered to represent reduced vegetative leaves.’
Mid 18th century (denoting the husk or shell of a fruit): from Greek, from lepein ‘to peel’.
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