Definition of stemma in English:



  • 1A recorded genealogy of a family; a family tree.

    pedigree, ancestry, descent, lineage, line, line of descent, family tree, extraction, derivation, origin, heritage, parentage, paternity, birth, family, dynasty, house, race, strain, stock, breed, blood, bloodline, history, background, roots
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    1. 1.1 A diagram showing the relationship between a text and its various manuscript versions.
      • ‘This is the stemma of the Medici, as established in 1465, with five red roundels - here painted in manganese, since red was not available - and one blue one with three gold fleurs-de-lis.’
      • ‘The next step in approaching the problem of the relation of these texts is to build a non-directional stemma.’
      • ‘It would be more reasonable to suggest, therefore, that the copy from which the others were taken, designated ‘z’ on the stemma, was an imported manuscript that was passed around what was nevertheless a small circle of musicians.’


Mid 17th century: via Latin from Greek stemma ‘wreath’, from stephein ‘wreathe, crown’.