Middle English, from Anglo-French eskorpiun, from Latin scorpion-, scorpio, from Greek skorpios
First Known Use: 12th century
Medical Definition of SCORPION
: any of an order (Scorpionida) of arachnids that have an elongated body and a narrow segmented tail bearing a venomous stinger at the tip
Illustration of SCORPION
Any of some 1,300 nocturnal arachnid species (order Scorpionida, subphylum Chelicerata) having a slender body, a segmented tail tipped with a venomous stinger, and six pairs of appendages. The small first pair tear apart insect and spider prey. Strong, clawlike pincers on the large second pair, held horizontally in front, are used as feelers and for grasping prey while sucking the tissue fluids. The last four pairs, each with a pincer, are walking legs. The venom is either a hemotoxin that, in humans, causes swelling, redness, and pain or a neurotoxin that may cause convulsions, paralysis, cardiac irregularities, and death. Most scorpions will sting a human only if provoked. Nocturnal hunters, most species are tropical or subtropical.