Main definitions of lemma in US English:

: lemma1lemma2

lemma1

nounPlural lemmata, Plural lemmas

  • 1A subsidiary or intermediate theorem in an argument or proof.

    • ‘To state the lemma, we need to make one more definition concerning functors.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The following lemma is fundamental in the theory of incomplete markets.’
  • 2A heading indicating the subject or argument of a literary composition, an annotation, or a dictionary entry.

    • ‘The lemma is always followed by an analysis of the text.’

Origin

Late 16th century: via Latin from Greek lēmma ‘something assumed’; related to lambanein ‘take’.

Pronunciation

lemma

/ˈlemə//ˈlɛmə/

Main definitions of lemma in US English:

: lemma1lemma2

lemma2

nounPlural lemmata, Plural lemmas

Botany
  • The lower bract of the floret of a grass.

    Compare with palea
    • ‘On the day before florets opened, the third florets from the top of the first branches were fixed in FAA after removing the lemmas.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Phenotypic traits include barbed lemmas, small sterile lateral spikelets, short glume awns, narrow leaves, semismooth awns, and long rachilla hairs.’

Origin

Mid 18th century (denoting the husk or shell of a fruit): from Greek, from lepein ‘to peel’.

Pronunciation

lemma

/ˈlemə//ˈlɛmə/