Portuguese man-of-war

plural Portuguese man-of-wars also Portuguese men-of-war

Definition of Portuguese man-of-war

: any of a genus (Physalia of the family Physaliidae) of large, tropical and subtropical, pelagic, siphonophore hydrozoans having a crested bladderlike float which bears the colony comprised of three types of zooids on the lower surface with one of the three having nematocyst-equipped tentacles

Illustration of Portuguese man-of-war

Illustration of portuguese man-of-war

Portuguese man-of-war

First Known Use of Portuguese man-of-war

1707, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of Portuguese man-of-war was in 1707

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Cite this Entry

“Portuguese man-of-war.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Portuguese%20man-of-war. Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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Portuguese man-of-war


English Language Learners Definition of Portuguese man-of-war

: a large sea animal that has a very soft body, many long, soft parts (called tentacles) that hang down from its body, and a poisonous sting

Portuguese man-of-war

Por·​tu·​guese man-of-war | \ ˌpȯr-chə-ˌgēz-ˌman-əv-ˈwȯr How to pronounce Portuguese man-of-war (audio) \
plural Portuguese man-of-wars\ -​ˈwȯrz How to pronounce Portuguese man-of-wars (audio) \ also Portuguese men-of-war\ -​ˌmen-​əv-​ˈwȯr How to pronounce Portuguese men-of-war (audio) \

Medical Definition of Portuguese man-of-war

: any siphonophore of the genus Physalia including large tropical and subtropical oceanic forms having a crested bladderlike float which bears a colony comprised of three types of zooids on the lower surface with one of the three having stinging tentacles

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