A dense, cylindrical, often drooping cluster of unisexual apetalous flowers found especially in willows, birches, and oaks. Also called ament.
[From obsolete Dutch katteken, kitten, diminutive of katte, cat (from its resemblance to a kitten's tail), from Germanic *kattuz.]
(click for a larger image)catkin
male hazel catkins
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.