noun \ˈäk-tə-pəs, -ˌps\

: a sea animal that has a soft body and eight long arms

: the flesh of an octopus used as food

plural oc·to·pus·es or oc·to·pi\-ˌpī\

Full Definition of OCTOPUS

:  any of a genus (Octopus) of cephalopod mollusks that have eight muscular arms equipped with two rows of suckers; broadly :  any octopod excepting the paper nautilus
:  something that resembles an octopus especially in having many centrally directed branches

Illustration of OCTOPUS

Origin of OCTOPUS

New Latin Octopod-, Octopus, from Greek oktōpous
First Known Use: 1758

Other Invertebrates (Except Insects) Terms

anemone, cephalopod, quahog

Rhymes with OCTOPUS


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Octopus granulatus, a South African species.—Anthony Bannister—The Natural History Photographic Agency/EB Inc.

In general, any eight-armed cephalopod of the order Octopoda; specifically, members of a large, widely distributed group (genus Octopus) of shallow-water species. Species range from about 2 in. (5 cm) to 18 ft (5.5 m) long with an arm span up to 30 ft (9 m). The head is usually only slightly demarcated from the saccular body. Each arm is contractile and bears fleshy suckers. Two sharp beaks and a filelike organ in the mouth drill crustacean shells and rasp away flesh. Most octopuses crawl along the bottom; when alarmed, they may jet-propel themselves backward, and they sometimes eject an inky substance to cloud the water and protect themselves from predators. They can change colour rapidly, a reflection of their environment or mood. The common octopus (O. vulgaris) is thought to be the most intelligent of all invertebrates.


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