noun an·ten·na \an-ˈte-nə\

: a thin sensitive organ on the head of an insect, crab, etc., that is used mainly to feel and touch things

: a device (such as a wire or a metal rod) for sending or receiving radio or television signals

plural an·ten·nae\-(ˌ)nē\ or an·ten·nas

Full Definition of ANTENNA

plural an·ten·nae :  one of a pair of slender movable segmented sensory organs on the head of insects, myriapods, and crustaceans — see insect illustration
:  a usually metallic device (as a rod or wire) for radiating or receiving radio waves
antennae plural :  a special sensitivity or receptiveness <his political antennae proved to be shrewder than ever — Erich Segal>
an·ten·nal \-ˈte-nəl\ adjective

Origin of ANTENNA

Medieval Latin, from Latin, sail yard
First Known Use: 1646

Other Telecommunications Terms

Ethernet, intercept

Rhymes with ANTENNA

ANTENNAL Defined for Kids


noun an·ten·na \an-ˈte-nə\

Definition of ANTENNA for Kids

plural an·ten·nae \-ˈte-nē\ :  one of two or four threadlike movable feelers on the head of insects and crustaceans (as lobsters)
plural an·ten·nas :  a metallic device (as a rod or wire) for sending or receiving radio waves

Word History of ANTENNA

In Greece more than two thousand years ago, the philosopher and naturalist Aristotle wrote a description of insects feelers. He used the Greek word keraia, which is derived from the word keras, horn, as a name for the feelers. The word keraia in Greek also means sail yard, the long piece of wood that spreads and supports the sails on a ship. Centuries later, when Aristotle's work was translated into Latin, the Latin word for a sail yard, antenna, was used to translate keraia. English later borrowed the word antenna from Latin.


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