One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An extra seed-covering, typically colored and hairy or fleshy, e.g., the red fleshy cup around a yew seed.
- ‘Seeds from the fruits were collected and viable seeds were distinguished by the colour of the aril (red, as opposed to dark brown for aborted seeds).’
- ‘The frail, brown shell is marked with longitudinal ridges, sometimes having a whitish aril (seed coat) fixed to one end.’
- ‘What are commonly thought of as spices today are a collection of seeds, berries, flowers, fruits, kernels, roots, rhizomes, leaves, arils, barks and saps that are used in cooking and food preparation.’
- ‘But the fruit's clusters of arils - or seeds surrounded by a juicy sac - are protected by sections of white, pithy membrane.’
- ‘The fruits, about 6 cm in length, are red or yellow, and, when ripe, split to expose three shining black seeds surrounded by fleshy arils.’
Mid 18th century: from modern Latin arillus, of unknown origin; perhaps related to medieval Latin arilli ‘dried grape stones’.
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