an·​ten·​na an-ˈte-nə How to pronounce antenna (audio)
plural antennae an-ˈte-(ˌ)nē How to pronounce antenna (audio) or antennas
plural antennae : 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 (such as a rod or wire) for radiating or receiving radio waves
a TV antenna
antennae plural : a special sensitivity or receptiveness
… his political antennae proved to be shrewder than ever.Erich Segal
antennal adjective

Did you know?

The Latin word antenna meant “sail yard,” which is the long spar that supports and spreads the sail on a sailing vessel. The Greek word for a sail yard was keraia, but that was only one meaning of this word. The primary meaning was “horn.” The philosopher Aristotle used keraiai to describe the feelers of insects, probably because of their resemblance to the horns of some larger animals. In a Latin translation of Aristotle’s work made during the Renaissance, the word antennae was used for Greek keraiai. In English we still use antennae for insects’ feelers. And now we also use antenna for the metal rods that pick up radio waves and seem to “feel the air” like the antennae of an insect.

Examples of antenna in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The cosmic microwave background was first observed half a century ago, a serendipitous hiss picked up by an antenna in Holmdel, N.J. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, 3 June 2024 The radio has both LoRa and Bluetooth antennas, and there’s a nice smartphone app that uses the Bluetooth connection to relay text messages through the radio and configure many settings. IEEE Spectrum, 29 May 2024 Southeast Wisconsin has more than a half-dozen low-power TV outlets, though their signals make their reach limited, depending on a viewer's antenna. Chris Foran, Journal Sentinel, 20 May 2024 Nine antenna lines are visible around the frame, with four outlining the camera bar. PCMAG, 20 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for antenna 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'antenna.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Medieval Latin, from Latin, sail yard

First Known Use

1698, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of antenna was in 1698

Dictionary Entries Near antenna

Cite this Entry

“Antenna.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


an·​ten·​na an-ˈten-ə How to pronounce antenna (audio)
plural antennae -ˈten-(ˌ)ē How to pronounce antenna (audio) or antennas
plural usually antennae : one of a pair of slender movable organs of sensation on the head of an arthropod (as an insect or a crab) that are made up of segments
plural usually antennas : a device (as a rod or wire) for sending or receiving radio waves

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