antenna

noun
an·ten·na | \an-ˈte-nə \
plural antennae\-(ˌ)nē \ 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

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Other Words from antenna

antennal \-ˈte-nᵊl \ 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

One is a Dutch radio antenna, which will study celestial radio frequencies blocked by Earth's atmosphere. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "China takes a critical first step toward landing on the far side of the Moon," 21 May 2018 But there's something old-fashioned and straightforward about free digital content, broadcast through the airwaves and retrieved by antennas with the same finesse as TV sets a half-century ago. Kim Komando, Fox News, "Stop robocalls, free TV, anonymous browsing and more: Tech Q&A," 7 July 2018 Yet all agree on his remarkably well-tuned political antennae. The Economist, "Europe is moving towards the tough immigration policies of Sebastian Kurz," 5 July 2018 To make high frequencies work, a network requires many more antennae in a smaller radius. Scott Moritz, Bloomberg.com, "Trump's China Concern Adds Pressure in Race to Be First With 5G," 2 Apr. 2018 The technology requires only a small exterior antenna that is wired into a building’s communications equipment. BostonGlobe.com, "Starry completes a $100 million funding round," 7 July 2018 Some humans are clearly more tuned in to the spiritual, mystical and unseen, while others simply lack the necessary perceptive antenna. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A cardinal's song, or a spiritual experience?," 5 July 2018 Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), a radar that amplifies and records the on-goings in space using a 25 meter antenna. USA TODAY, "Supermassive black hole violently swallows star, and researchers watch," 15 June 2018 The camera was encased in green plastic and had a transmitting antenna. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Man removes feds’ spy cam, they demand it back, he refuses and sues," 22 Feb. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for antenna

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for antenna

The first known use of antenna was in 1698

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More Definitions for antenna

antenna

noun

English Language Learners Definition of antenna

: a thin sensitive organ on the head of an insect, crab, etc., that is used mainly to feel and touch things

: a device (such as a wire or a metal rod) for sending or receiving radio or television signals

antenna

noun
an·ten·na | \an-ˈte-nə \

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

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