antenna

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

In Brown’s case, appropriate headgear is a tinfoil helmet, equipped with a large radio antenna. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Raiders’ Antonio Brown and NFL reach agreement on tinfoil helmet," 10 Aug. 2019 That service, which was for-profit, used dime-sized antennas to capture TV signals and then stream the video over the internet. Tali Arbel, Houston Chronicle, "Networks sue Locast, a service that streams TV for free," 31 July 2019 In addition, consumers can install digital antennas to receive the signals of broadcast stations, including CBS. Tribune News Service, Twin Cities, "CBS stations blacked out for DirecTV customers after deal with AT&T fails," 20 July 2019 Another factor, perhaps even more vital, was a new high-gain antenna aboard Apollo 8. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How the Moon Landing Was Filmed," 20 July 2019 Bartoszek held up a radio antenna shaped like a horizontal football goal post and listened for beeps. Gena Steffens, Smithsonian, "The Snakes That Ate Florida," 11 July 2019 The concept is similar to that of using a digital TV antenna to receive over-the-air TV stations. Rex Crum, The Mercury News, "Cord cutters get another choice with TV streamer Locast," 24 June 2019 The result is the Terahertz Space Telescope, an inflatable ball 40 meters in diameter with a steerable antenna inside. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "New Space Telescopes Could Look Like Giant Beach Balls," 11 June 2019 Photographs released by the Dutch Ministry of Defense showed a trunk loaded with a computer, battery, a bulky white transformer and a hidden antenna. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Seattle Times, "Russia dismisses suspected spy actions as routine Dutch trip," 8 Oct. 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

13 Aug 2019

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
chiefly US : 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 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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about antenna

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