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

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Other Words from antenna

antennal \ an-​ˈte-​nᵊl How to pronounce antennal (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 City staff contends the antenna is 68 feet tall, while Rodecker says it’s 40. Priscella Vega, Daily Pilot, "Wisp, a local internet provider, may cease service after Fountain Valley council’s ruling," 19 July 2019 The moment finds Pitt’s character Cliff Booth on the roof of friend and actor Rick Dalton’s house trying to fix his antenna. Ale Russian,, "How Brad Pitt Got His Hollywood Six Pack: 'He Really Takes His Workouts Seriously,' Says Source," 8 Aug. 2019 Inside were nickel-cadmium batteries and ten-metre antennae—components of a clandestine weather station. The Economist, "How to predict the weather," 6 July 2019 Troopers did find several pieces of the Mustang left behind, however: its radio antenna, part of the front bumper, a 35th anniversary Ford Mustang badge identifier and a headlight and side mirror, both from the passenger side. Matt Peterson, Dallas News, "Troopers seek hit-and-run driver who killed man on I-45, left pieces of Mustang behind," 29 June 2019 Its antennas are capturing signs of soil moisture, says Clara Chew, a remote sensing hydrologist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "NASA overcomes military's GPS tweaks to peer inside hurricanes," 12 June 2019 Ant bodies pinch to almost nothing at the waist, their antenna are crooked, and winged ants have two sets of wings that are different lengths. Ellen Nibali,, "Despite their name, groundhogs can climb, and how to tell an ant from a termite," 6 June 2019 The segments of their antennae took on different shapes. Quanta Magazine, "The Surprising Origins of Life’s Complexity," 16 July 2013 Along César Chávez Boulevard, Hammer said his team put one node antenna on top of a traffic light and placed the components of the small cell node inside of a nearby street-side recycling bin. Diego Mendoza-moyers,, "5G: What is it, and how will it change your life?," 2 Sep. 2019

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

5 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for antenna

The first known use of antenna was in 1698

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More Definitions for antenna


How to pronounce antenna (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on antenna

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with antenna

Spanish Central: Translation of antenna

Nglish: Translation of antenna for Spanish Speakers

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

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