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a spike of unisexual, apetalous flowers having scaly, usually deciduous bracts, as of a willow or birch.
Historical Examples

an inflorescence consisting of a spike, usually hanging, of much reduced flowers of either sex: occurs in birch, hazel, etc Also called ament

1570s, from Dutch katteken “flowering stem of willow, birch, hazel, etc.,” literally “kitten,” diminutive of katte “cat” (see cat (n.)). So called for their soft, furry appearance.
A long, thin, indeterminate inflorescence of tiny, petalless flowers growing on willows, birches, oaks, poplars, and certain other trees. The flowers on a catkin are either all male or all female. The female flowers are usually pollinated by the wind. Also called ament. See illustration at inflorescence.


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    noun a long double-edged surgical knife for amputations (rare) catgut or a string made from it an archaic word for kitten Historical Examples

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