Definition of tessellate in US English:


(also tesselate)


[with object]
  • 1Decorate (a floor) with mosaics.

    • ‘One room had a red tessellated floor and the main reception room a geometric mosaic, partly restored.’
    • ‘In Beowulf we hear ‘The outer door, bolted with iron bands, burst open at a touch from his hands… the fiend stepped onto the tessellated floor…’’
    • ‘About half of the design survives, set within a red tessellated border.’
    • ‘There are a lot of single pitch sport routes on the tessellated patterned walls of this amazing area.’
    • ‘She planted pencil pines around the fence and lobbied for the verandah roof to be removed from our Victorian house so she could place cumquats in tubs on the tessellated terrace.’
    • ‘Remains from Roman Canterbury have also come to light, including walls standing two feet high, metalled roads, a number of tessellated floors, and a hoard of about 700 low-denomination coins spanning the 1st - 4th centuries.’
    • ‘The area of loss high-lighted in Plate XII illustrates the intrinsic flaw in tessellated inlay decoration: particles were apt to become dislodged as the thin strip of mixed clay was bent around the oval teapot.’
    • ‘The nature of their decoration, whether by painted plaster on walls or ceilings, or by tessellated and mosaic floors, compares well with that from the countryside.’
    1. 1.1Mathematics Cover (a plane surface) by repeated use of a single shape, without gaps or overlapping.
      • ‘Does there exist an algorithm or standard procedure that can take as input an arbitrary single tile and determine in a finite number of steps whether or not that tile tessellates the plane?’
      • ‘By considering the action of the modular group on the complex plane, Klein showed that the fundamental region is moved around to tessellate the plane.’
      • ‘Furthermore individual tracheids within these anomalous wood zones often possess a rounded cross-sectional shape, such that they do not perfectly tessellate, resulting in the occurrence of abundant intercellular spaces.’


Late 17th century (as tessellated): from late Latin tessellat-, from the verb tessellare, from tessella, diminutive of tessera (see tessera).