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 Our experimental demonstration mimicking antenna/cable-car mast installations showcases Geranos ability in stacking poles (3 kilograms, 2 meters long) with remarkable sub-5 centimeter placement accuracy, without the need of human manual intervention. IEEE Spectrum, 29 Mar. 2024 Scouts prepare to chat with ISS next week The team made final preparations Saturday by hooking up the last of the equipment — radio transceivers, microphones and more — to an antenna assembly perched atop the Heart of Central California Council building on Elvas Avenue. Jacqueline Pinedo, Sacramento Bee, 11 Feb. 2024 Any ham station with an HF radio and antenna can participate. Catherine Duncan, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Mar. 2024 Be sure to test the antenna in multiple locations in your home to find the most reliable signal. Chris Morris, Fortune, 10 Mar. 2024 Those longer pauses are if the satellites being used are far apart, meaning the antenna needs to repoint from east to west. Julia Buckley, CNN, 9 Mar. 2024 Therefore, the researchers created antennas based on a special ceramic that aids in miniaturization. IEEE Spectrum, 4 Mar. 2024 Wirecutter recommended a plug-in TV antenna that lists for $20. Shira Ovide, Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2024 The Deep Space Network is a system of radio antennas on Earth that help the agency communicate with the Voyager probes and other spacecraft exploring our solar system. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 14 Mar. 2024

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 22 Apr. 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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