an·​ten·​na | \ an-ˈte-nə How to pronounce antenna (audio) \
plural antennae\ an-​ˈte-​(ˌ)nē How to pronounce antenna (audio) \ or antennas

Definition of antenna

1 plural antennae : one of a pair of slender, movable, segmented sensory organs on the head of insects, myriapods, and crustaceans — see insect illustration
2 : a usually metallic device (such as a rod or wire) for radiating or receiving radio waves a TV antenna
3 antennae plural : a special sensitivity or receptiveness … his political antennae proved to be shrewder than ever.— Erich Segal

Other Words from antenna

antennal \ an-​ˈte-​nᵊl How to pronounce antenna (audio) \ 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 After Palimiu village along the Uraricoera River suffered a series of attacks committed by miners in May 2021, the Yanomami managed to install an antenna there. Fabiano Maisonnave, ajc, 7 May 2022 The robot is equipped with LIDAR, or light detection and ranging, and a 360-degree camera that can detect penguins on vast terrains and uses an antenna to activate and read each penguin's chip. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 May 2022 Instead, the missile has a passive radar receiver—an antenna that detects energy from the launching fighter and reflecting off the target. David Axe, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 The historic monument grew again in 2000 when an Ultra High Frequency antenna was added to the tower to take it to 1,063 feet. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 18 Mar. 2022 Then in 2000, an Ultra High Frequency antenna was installed, changing the height of the tower again and bringing it to 1,063 feet high. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 17 Mar. 2022 People who don’t have cable or broadband, and watch broadcast TV via an antenna, still account for one-quarter of all America’s TV viewing time. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 1 Mar. 2022 An on-board antenna has a 120-degree field of view that can cover nearly 20,000 square miles to monitor ground movements, according to an Air Force fact sheet, and can also detect aircraft. Barbara Starr, CNN, 29 Dec. 2021 As with any network-centric programming, the best way to watch for free on a big screen is with a good HD antenna. Chris Morris, Fortune, 28 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'antenna.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of antenna

1698, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for antenna

Medieval Latin, from Latin, sail yard

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Time Traveler for antenna

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The first known use of antenna was in 1698

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Dictionary Entries Near antenna



antenna array

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Statistics for antenna

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Antenna.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for antenna


an·​ten·​na | \ an-ˈte-nə How to pronounce antenna (audio) \

Kids Definition of antenna

1 plural antennae\ -​ˈte-​nē \ : one of two or four threadlike movable feelers on the head of insects and crustaceans (as lobsters)
2 plural antennas : a metallic device (as a rod or wire) for sending or receiving radio waves

More from Merriam-Webster on antenna

Nglish: Translation of antenna for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of antenna for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about antenna


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