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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Even the latest estimate could be overly optimistic, data from the antenna-sprouting platforms have suggested. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, "Rerouting the Mississippi River could build new land—and save a retreating coast," 22 Apr. 2021 This $30 indoor antenna from Amazon will pick up your local ABC affiliate (and most other major networks) for free. Tim Chan, Rolling Stone, "Oscars 2021 Live Stream: How to Watch the 93rd Academy Awards Online," 21 Apr. 2021 The headset, which will be releasing May 10th, 2021, will have a Snapdragon XR2 chipset (the same chip Oculus 2 has), three IPD adjustments, four wide-angle cameras for positioning and capturing, a curved 90Hz screen, and a WiFi 6 antenna. Charlie Fink, Forbes, "This Week In XR: Fortnite’s Billion Dollar Metaverse, Surgical Robots, XR Art And Immersive Concerts," 16 Apr. 2021 If more power is needed, a bigger antenna can be used. The Economist, "Energy harvesting 5G phone networks could provide power as well as communications," 14 Apr. 2021 While harvesting enough power from 5G is possible with gargantuan antennas, researchers managed to come up with their own antenna system in a much smaller package. Yoni Heisler, BGR, "Crazy new device uses 5G signals in the air to charge your gadgets," 4 Apr. 2021 In order to observe Apophis and remove it from the risk list, astronomers used the Deep Space Network's Goldstone radio antenna near Barstow, California. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Asteroid Apophis won't impact Earth for at least a century, NASA finds," 27 Mar. 2021 One chemical caused a reliable reaction in every antenna. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Extremely Rare Orchid Tricks Horny Beetles Into Carrying Its Pollen," 25 Mar. 2021 That, along with running the antenna’s data-and-power cable into his home, was the hardest part. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "Elon Musk and Amazon Are Battling to Put Satellite Internet in Your Backyard," 20 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of antenna

1698, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for antenna

Medieval Latin, from Latin, sail yard

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about antenna

Time Traveler for antenna

Time Traveler

The first known use of antenna was in 1698

See more words from the same year

Statistics for antenna

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Antenna.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for antenna



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


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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on antenna

What made you want to look up antenna? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!