One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Having, forming, or resembling a small tuft or tufts of hair.
- ‘Brush mice have large ears, and are 7 to 9 inches long including a tufted (penicillate) tail which is slightly longer than their body.’
- ‘The most characteristic feature of the genus is the distinctive erect, often densely penicillate conidiophores with phialides which bear slimy, one-celled hyaline to green, smooth-walled conidia in heads or columns.’
Early 19th century: from Latin penicillus ‘paintbrush’ + -ate.
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