Teat is an alternative word for the nipple of a mammary gland, in humans referred to as a breast, from which milk is discharged. Similarly in cows, goats, etc., it is the projection from the udder through which milk is discharged.

The rubber mouthpiece of a baby's feeding bottle and dummy, and similar items, are referred to as a teat.

The word "teat" is of Germanic origin, having the same origin as the Dutch word "tiet" and German "Zitze". In turn, this word has Indo-European roots, as may be seen in the Welsh word "teth". The Old English for teat was "tit", which is still used as a vulgar or slang term in Modern English.

The number of teats varies in Mammals from 2 to 20 [http://www.earthlife.net/mammals/milk.html] . Marsupials and Eutherian mammals have teats from which their young suckle milk. Monotremes lack teats; their young drink milk directly from pores in the skin (similar to sweat glands), or by sucking it off of hairs surrounding the pores. In most Eutherian mammals, both males and females have teats. Those of the male are nonfunctional except in cases of hormonal imbalance. Notable exceptions to this are the male rat and the male horse, neither of which has teats.

Teats vary in size, location, and structure in different mammalian species. Female goats and ewes have two teats, each with a single mammary gland, located between the hindlegs. Mares have two teats, each with two mammary glands. The teats of the sow can be quite variable in number, from six to thirty, and are located on two parallel lines along the belly. Cows have four teats, each with one mammary gland in the udder. Extra teats occur often, and are known as supernumerary teats. They are nonfunctional and are usually removed from domestic animals.

The offspring of domestic animals, including piglets, calves, lambs, and foals, engage in a behavior known as teat seeking. This strong instinct occurs in most species within minutes of birth, and serves both to connect the young to the food source and to encourage bonding between mother and young.

See also

*Mammary gland
*Milk line

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  • Teat — (t[=e]t), n. [OE. tete, titte, AS. tit, titt; akin to LG. & OD. titte, D. tet, G. zitze: cf. F. tette, probably of Teutonic origin.] 1. The protuberance through which milk is drawn from the udder or breast of a mammal; a nipple; a pap; a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • teat — (n.) mid 13c., from O.Fr. tete teat (12c.), from P.Gmc. *titta (source of O.E. titt, see TIT (Cf. tit)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • teat — teat; teat·ed; …   English syllables

  • teat — [tēt] n. [ME tete < OFr < Gmc base akin to OE tit] 1. NIPPLE (sense 1) 2. any small projection like a teat …   English World dictionary

  • teat — [ti:t] n [Date: 1100 1200; : Old French; Origin: tete] 1.) BrE the rubber part on a baby s bottle that the baby sucks milk from American Equivalent: nipple 2.) one of the small parts on a female animal s body that her babies suck milk from …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • teat — [ tit ] noun count 1. ) one of the small pointed parts of a female animal s body through which a baby animal sucks milk 2. ) BRITISH the NIPPLE on a baby s bottle …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • teat — ► NOUN 1) a nipple of the mammary gland of a female mammal. 2) Brit. a perforated plastic nipple shaped device by which an infant or young animal can suck milk from a bottle. ORIGIN Old French tete …   English terms dictionary

  • teat — [[t]ti͟ːt[/t]] teats 1) N COUNT A teat is a pointed part on the body of a female animal which her babies suck in order to get milk. 2) N COUNT A teat is a piece of rubber or plastic that is shaped like a teat, especially one that is fitted to a… …   English dictionary

  • teat — UK [tiːt] / US [tɪt] noun [countable] Word forms teat : singular teat plural teats 1) British a piece of rubber or plastic fixed to a bottle, through which a baby sucks milk or juice 2) one of the small pointed parts of a female animal s body… …   English dictionary

  • teat — noun Etymology: Middle English tete, in part from Old English tit; in part from Anglo French, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English tit teat, Middle High German zitze Date: 12th century 1. the protuberance through which milk is drawn from an… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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