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See also: vellum


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Borrowed from Latin velum (veil, sail). Doublet of veil.


  • IPA(key): /ˈviːləm/, /ˈvɛləm/
    • (file)
    • (file)
  • Hyphenation: ve‧lum
  • Hyphenation: vel‧um


velum (plural vela or velums)

  1. A thin membrane, resembling a veil, such as:
    1. (anatomy) The soft palate.
    2. (botany) A thin membrane partially covering the cluster of sporangia near the leaf base in quillworts and their extinct relatives.
    3. (mycology) A veil-like membrane of immature mushrooms extending from the margin of the cap to the stem and is torn by growth, to reveal the gills.
    4. (malacology) A locomotory and feeding organ provided with cilia found in the larval stage of bivalves.
    5. (zoology) A circular membrane around the cap of a medusa.
    6. A delicate membrane found on certain protists.
  2. (meteorology) An accessory cloud resembling a veil extending over a large distance. Normally associated with cumulus and cumulonimbus.

Related terms[edit]



vēla rubra (red sails)


From Proto-Indo-European *weg- (to weave a web) or *weǵʰ- (to ride), thus "that which propels" (compare its diminutive noun vexillum, as in pālus, paxillus). If the latter, a direct cognate is Proto-Slavic *veslo (oar).



vēlum n (genitive vēlī); second declension

  1. the sail of a ship
  2. a cloth, curtain, veil, awning
    • (Can we date this quote?), Dig. 30, 1, 41, § 10 Ulpianus libro vicesimo primo ad Sabinum
      Sed si cancelli sint vel vela, legari poterunt, non tamen fistulae vel castelli.
      But while bar-doors or their veils can be legated, not so water-pipes or water-basins.


Second-declension noun (neuter).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative vēlum vēla
Genitive vēlī vēlōrum
Dative vēlō vēlīs
Accusative vēlum vēla
Ablative vēlō vēlīs
Vocative vēlum vēla

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



  • velum in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • velum in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • velum in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition, 1883–1887)
  • velum in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • (ambiguous) to put to sea: vela in altum dare (Liv. 25. 27)
    • (ambiguous) to set the sails: vela facere, pandere
    • (ambiguous) to set the sails: vela dare
    • (ambiguous) to furl the sails: vela contrahere (also metaph.)
    • (ambiguous) sails and rigging: vela armamentaque
  • velum in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers